New York

Fred Gwyne

Barbara Braathen Gallery

Those who passed over Fred Gwynne’s first solo exhibition in the belief that it was going to be just another vanity show/media event were regrettably mistaken in doing so. Gwynne is, after all, most immediately recognizable as the character of Herman Munster, the bumbling monster-daddy of the mid-’60s sitcom The Munsters. His role was so hammy, inane, and unforgettable that it stigmatized Gwynne as an unemployably overexposed and typecast figure, but it probably helped generate his subtly barbed and reality-mocking position as the demeaned fool, excluded from and laughed at by the domain of “serious” culture. It is less surprising that an actor known for a foolish and klutzy role could prove himself to be an artist of unquestionable grace and intelligence than that he could be so damn smart and lyrically sophisticated without letting up in the least his wry persona of clownish buffoonery,

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