New York

Eric Fischl

Mary Boone Gallery | Uptown

In lieu of the typical essay, the catalogue for Eric Fischl’s show includes a short assembly of notes by the artist, banal jottings presented as a poem and titled “India In My imagination.” In this phrase lies the problem with the exhibition, for India is not a fictitious place, and, in any case, the artist’s imagination is none too active here.

Fischl’s stock in trade has always been the tense narratives suggested by the poses of his figures and a sense of light that, at its best, can be remarkably effective. Neither is in evidence in this new series of paintings depicting his travels to the subcontinent, and, in their absence, the flavor of Orientalism is overwhelming. Given the sordid history of Western projections of fantasies of exoticism and inscrutability onto very real Eastern lives, one can’t help but wonder what we have done to deserve such a shameless display of imperialistic

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