new-york

Robert Colescott

Phyllis Kind Gallery

With the skill of a political cartoonist, Robert Colescott draws some fine, funky lines around what lust and laughter, anger and envy bring to mixed-race relations. It might be said, in fact, that he introduces a thinking man’s perspicuity into activist art. Barely contained by their organization on the canvas, his carnival-flavored narratives can still make wholly original, often maddening cases for tolerance. Disenfranchised populations face down the oppressive forces inhabiting the art world, the “free” world, and the dimensions of their own despair.

Though his barbs generally seem to be more obvious than profound, Colescott’s elaborate paintings looked wonderfully like brazen, art-smart relatives of a Chester Himes novel. As with his bizarre, South Central recreation of Edvard Munch, The Scream: Georgia O’Keefe in L.A., 1992, some works place irreverence itself on a throne; others swell

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