New York

Austé

56, Bleecker Gallery

Austé’s recent series of paintings is as cunningly outrageous as any of her wickedly flamboyant work to date. In this, her third solo show in New York, Austé surely enthralled those who are already fans and further alienated those less enamored of her special sort of rococo kitsch. A bit like Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company or the films of Jack Smith and John Waters, she will probably always mark something of a break in subjective taste. One could easily follow the “it’s-so-bad-it’s-good” school of thinking and categorize Austé’s phantasmagoria as camp. Yet her fevered pitch contains a note of private hysteria that is even more extreme than her flowery facade of romping burlesque, bringing to the tackiness of these works an introspection that places them in the artistic region of the mythical and visionary. To fully appreciate Austé’s grand airs of heavy-handed grace, one

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