new-york

Eric Fischl

Gagosian Gallery (21)

Few artists in recent years have evolved as productive a repertoire of subjects based on the human figure as Eric Fischl’s. In his first solo exhibition of sculpture, Fischl unapologetically celebrated the historical tradition of the figure. Aggressively eschewing what he regards as the impersonal, cynical voice of much contemporary art, the artist used figuration to raise issues—such as the importance of archetypes and the value of ritual and the ceremonial—that evoke the aesthetic and philosophical concerns and convictions of a distant past. His grouping of life-size bronzes conjured all the bygone sanctities: beauty, emotion, and invention, not to mention unabashed preciousness, given the abundance of bronze. Even Fischl’s titles, such as Watcher, The Wait, The Brave Moment, and Puppeteer (all works 1997), summoned up literary or narrative conventions that modern art left behind at its

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