John Keane

Flowers | Kingsland Road

The painterly narratives in John Keane’s recent show, “Graham Greene and the Jungle of Human Dilemma,” evolved out of a trip he took to Mexico in January and February of 1995. While he was staying in Mexico City, Keane came across a copy of Greene’s 1938 book The Lawless Road, a searing indictment of the Mexican government’s persecution of Catholics. The resulting paintings conflate Keane’s memories of his own experiences in Mexico with tableaux suggested by Greene’s writings and photographs.

Keane achieved notoriety with his 1991–92 series of Gulf War paintings, the most memorable of which portrayed Mickey Mouse in the midst of a ravaged Kuwaiti landscape. In these newer works, he’s as irreverent as ever, creating images that are as comical as they are unsettling. Monkeys with erect penises prowl in the shadows of the Mayan rainforest while men are lynched and guerrillas type away on laptop

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