New York

Jean Dubeffet

Perhaps due as much to the peculiar new climate of American painting as to the style of his current work, Jean Dubuffet suddenly looks more up-to-date than he has in 20 years. Not that he has gotten easy to take. There’s still that damned facility and feckless proliferation of plasmic imagery, that squiggly line he’s been spinning out since the 1940s that, if unkinked, would probably stretch to Jupiter by now. His unflagging robustness, high spirits, panache, etc., can still make one want to go lie down somewhere, and the floor of his black and white prints and drawings at the two-story Pace Gallery I found completely daunting. The paintings upstairs, however, looked very good indeed.

The paintings are actually collages from other paintings, on paper, in a very wide range of exuberant, brushy styles, some of them recognizable from Dubuffet’s past work and some like tachiste and Cobra

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