New York

Grace Hartigan

Gruenebaum Gallery

The fact that flatness and edgeness married New Image and produced renegade punk-cartoonist offspring who are largely unaware of their parentage seems poetic justice for an obsession that took itself so seriously and so certainly. The survivors are truly the murderers. If flatness is “survived by” these practitioners, it is as a literary flatness along the lines of E.M. Forster’s distinction between flat and round characters. To put a figure into a color field painting is to destroy color field painting.

That’s what Grace Hartigan has done in her paintings of “Great Queens and Empresses,” but the way she bleeds her line into the field, or drops the veil of the field over the line so as to minimize the hostility between the two, produces an opposite effect. This retinal tact becomes a gesture of politesse, a gracious acknowledgment that Hartigan has not forgotten earlier acquaintances even

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