new-york

Philip Pearlstein

Hirschl & Adler Galleries

For the last 30 years Philip Pearlstein has, somewhat unfashionably, insisted on painting nudes from live models. But by stalking his subjects from skewed, ever-shifting angles—crucial body parts (a foot, a shoulder, a head) frequently slip off the frame or disappear entirely behind the scene-stealing props—he lends his workboth the spontaneity of a snapshot and the wholly contemporary coolness associated with formal or compositional values.

Pearlstein forces his nudes to vie for space with toys, pieces of furniture, and folk art that not only outnumber or outsize the figures but often appear more animated. Emphasizing pictorial qualities over narrative incident, he guides the eye into and around the patterned crevices of his pictures’ screwy planes, seducing the viewer with the pleasure of looking.

In Models With Dirigible, Weathervane and Kiddie-Car Airplane (all works 1992), the blood-red

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 February 1993 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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