Los Angeles

Lisa Yuskavage

Christopher Grimes Gallery

Not since the days of “bad painting” has someone tried as hard as Lisa Yuskavage does to make a travesty of the medium. In her saccharine portraits of prepubescent nymphets, girlish innocence and sexual awakening are given thoroughly ham-fisted treatment. Yuskavage mobilizes the entire cutie-pie repertoire—big eyes peering through thick bangs, plump cheeks, pouty lips, upturned noses—to doll-up a field of semiclad and naked bodies swollen as much by baby fat as sexual ripeness. The result is a litter of Hello Sex Kitties. Garish background color catapults each figure toward the viewer, and even Yuskavage’s schooled paint handling, which looks borrowed from a how-to book for hobbyists, comes across as an effort to temper the work’s gitchy-goo obscenity with reassuring touches of class—there are minor painterly outbursts, bold dabs of white glinting from erect nipples, not to mention a kind

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