New York

Alan Cote

Betty Cunningham Gallery

Carrie Rickey, a writer whose opinions I often overlook (even when I agree with her) in order to savor her well-turned phrases, is a stylist in search of a subject. I went to Alan Cote’s show knowing what Rickey had written about him. What was interesting to read became so much stylish fluff when confronted with the paintings themselves. The twist: this perfectly fit Cote’s paintings, in an ironic, perhaps unconscious way. Rickey unknowingly reflected her subject’s basic appeal, through her style. Her title: “Fashion/Style/Custom.” Her case: Cote is not fashionable, after explaining in many paragraphs about postmodernist “fashion” art. Why preface an article on an artist with a long argument about something which your subject doesn’t embody? Typical defense mechanism, I think. For myself, whenever I read lengthy defenses before any work is mentioned, I get suspicious. For Cote’s paintings

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