Washington, DC

“43rd Biennial”

Corcoran Gallery of Art

Organized by Corcoran curator of contemporary art Terrie Sultan, the “43rd Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting” featured 91 works by 25 artists. Intended as the flip side of the previous biennial, which was devoted solely to abstact painting, this one centered on figurative painting. It included established artists such as Leon Golub, Nancy Spero, and Ida Applebroog; midcareer artists, including Phyllis Bramson, Carole Caroompas, and Hung Liu; and younger artists such as Inga Frick, Michael Byron, and Deborah Oropallo.

As Sultan writes in the catalogue, the exhibition was intended to demonstrate that, just as in sculpture, “figuration remains an essential aspect of the current esthetic of painting.” While this was something the exhibition clearly demonstrated, the unstated theme of the show was not simply the figure, but the figure appropriated from the media and from art

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