New York

William Baziotes

Blum Heiman Gallery

William Baziotes offers us 19th-century American luminist paintings modernized by quotations from the “experimental” works of the early-20th-century masters. From today’s perspective he looks like the master of the misshapen sign, the sign all too calculatedly odd, stylized in its eccentricity; eccentricity, of course, is always being reinvented, since any form of it easily becomes another “look” available for esthetic consumption.

When Baziotes first saw the work of Picasso and Joan Miró it was monstrously novel, and the biomorphic seemed profoundly destructive of the social-realist. What he didn’t understand was that the early Modernists, among other things, were trying to destroy the idea of the picture as a window, and that even the Surrealist sense of looking at strange worlds, which spilled into the work of Arshile Gorky and other proto-Abstract Expressionists, broke the glass of that

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