New York

Lucas Samaras

Pace Gallery

“Is there progress in art?” is the question on everybody’s minds as we inexorably enter a new decade. From the look of things, there’s certainly regress in art: rediscoveries of Expressionism, Constructivism, Realism and Surrealism abound. Some people call that evolution, others devolution, and yet others are able to transcend this limiting question and understand the less transient meanings underlying it all. What would you call Lucas Samaras’ new work, now that he’s practically relived and reworked his whole career in his latest show? Progress? Stasis? Or some other kind of dynamic?

A Real Allegory, Courbet’s subtitle for The Painter’s Studio, could easily be subverted to An Unreal Allegory to describe Lucas Samaras’ series of color photographs—mildly subversive, large-format, high-key—entitled “Sittings.” The artist (holding the shutter cable) and his models are the subjects of each

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