new-york

Mark Tansey

Curt Marcus Gallery

Mark Tansey translates the language of art history—particularly terms with scientific and military origins such as “avant-garde,” “revolution,” “discoverer,” and “pioneer”—into literal scenarios that mock the discipline’s self-importance. His Action Painting II, 1984, which depicts a party of plein-air painters outfitted with easels and folding chairs sketching an atomic bomb exploding across the desert, sets the studio-bound heroics of the Abstract Expressionists against the devastating potential of contemporary technology. Elsewhere Tansey presents the postwar migration of artistic energy from Paris to New York as a treaty-signing between French and American artist-soldiers.

With the exception of Wilbur Braque and Orville Picasso (all works 1990), in which two painter-inventors test-fly an airborne cubist collage, these recent drawings turn away from art history and towards contemporary

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 March 1991 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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