new-york

Lucas Samaras

The Pace Gallery | 508 W 25th Street

Writing for the catalogue of a Lucas Samaras retrospective at the Denver Art Museum, Thomas McEvilley remarks that certain words in the critical literature on Samaras recur with singular insistence: menacing, threatening, malign, and malevolent, as well as solipsistic and narcissistic. Aside from making a veiled gibe at the tendentious sameness of the criticism, McEvilley argues that the artist’s protean visual intelligence is nonetheless coiled intransigently around a few big themes. McEvilley rejects the reductive univocal hermeneutics of the prevailing critical vocabulary, but still comes to the conclusion that obsessiveness is at the heart of Samaras’ nasty, resplendent art. This obsessiveness enforces a degree of interpretive homogeneity on an otherwise extremely heterodox body of work.

Samaras freely indulges the agonies and ecstasies of the self, working a series of necromantic and

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 February 1989 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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