New York

Irving Norman

Alternative Museum

The fact that this show was organized at all is laudable. Whereas so much new art is a novice rendition of the familiar, Irving Norman’s paintings evince a genuine oddness that even exaggerates this art center’s identification as the “alternative” museum. Furthermore, this unknown artist is aged, not youthful; lives on the West Coast, not the East River; and secludes himself in a rural cottage outside a metropolitan art community. Nevertheless, he has gained the support of urban art professionals on both coasts, including the cocurators of this exhibition,writer and arts administrator Michael S. Bell and the Alternative Museum’s executive director, Gino Rodriguez.

Norman’s imagery does not evoke an individual’s solitary self-exploration but a misanthrope’s horror of civilization. Most of these nine large paintings from 1965–85 are crammed with tiny nudes whose spiritual debasement is

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 1986 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.