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Philip Pearlstein

Galerie Zwirner

The works of Philip Pearlstein are difficult all around. Mannerism, kitsch, and Pop art combine with objects that are painted realistically, even hyperrealistically; abstractly composed still lifes coalesce with nudes and juicy symbolic overtones. Pearlstein flaunts his painterly expertise in these interior studio scenes. This is direct painting with no spark of inspiration springing across the canvas; these scenes implode silently. The naked figures are accompanied, for example, by wooden toys, wooden tables, mirrors, statues, and a red model airplane. The subjects’ poses are always attuned to the given object, producing a silent obscenity that verges on the pornographic. The airplane has touched down upon the reclining nude, with a single wing breaking off.

This is a very American, very direct, indeed blatant form of morbidity—commonplace, straightforward, unabashed—yet Pearlstein’s art

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