Tony Coleing

Julie Green Gallery

Tony Coleing’s new paintings are set full-tilt against the present. Oblivious to all self-critical imperatives, they are satiric, they are savage, and they don’t care that we already feel disdain for their targets. Coleing knows that we are not angry enough. Cocktales, 1991, has the subtlety of an adolescent’s antiwar wet dream. Here, Planet Earth is fissured by ecological and military catastrophe. A galactic cocktail glass rises into space. Instead of alcohol, it contains an inferno of burning oil. Tiny figures sit at the drink’s rim, perched on stiltlike swizzle sticks. Oil, the Gulf War, nuclear destruction, and late capitalism’s rapacity are the subject of all the paintings in this exhibition. The icons that Coleing employs serve doubly as signs of an activist narrative as well as evidence of his contempt for art. Minute dinosaurs and satellites dot the sky behind Earth. These emblems

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