New York

Don Nice

Nancy Hoffman Gallery

Don Nice’s work is equally insubstantial, but for different reasons. He is not interested in appearing fashionable, but he does want to be taken seriously. In a terribly earnest way he wants to be understood as making a meaningful statement, and he does try—oh, God, how he tries. In fact, that is exactly the problem.

Nice wants to say something about modern American culture, not in itself such a bad ambition. But unfortunately he goes about his project in the most banal way, reducing his argument to a series of clichéd illustrations which can only reduce his viewers to a state of foggy boredom. Everything about the work has the look of someone trying to seem bright and critical, but it is all so labored it could make you weep. The paintings are called “totems.” They are compartmentalized, sometimes according to a painted grid, sometimes by the use of shaped canvases. Images are isolated

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