New York

Christian Eckart

Rubinspangle Gallery

Resuscitated most recently through the auspices of appropriation and “neo-geo,” abstract painting is indelibly stamped with ambiguity and irony. Though the formalist idiom just won’t die, the legacy of its freighted history is a widespread ambivalence concerning its contemporary meaning. Among the several “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” approaches to formalism, we find a lot of symptomatic hair-splitting: painters who purport to make paintings that aren’t real paintings; artists who make paintings but claim they aren’t painters; and painters who make paintings but incorporate perverse twists that function as built-in escape clauses. Such works reserve the option of existing either as straightforward formalism, sans the send-up of Modernist esthetics, or as elegant pastiches presumably intended to further a critique of Modernist conventions. One suspects that many members of

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