new-york

Richard Phillips

Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

Richard Phillips made his reputation in the mid-’90s with huge, immaculately painted “head shots” of beautiful babes and anonymous model types who are never more than vaguely familiar but whom we instantly associate with the mass media. The artist is drawn to the “throwaway” culture of that world—short-lived fads, too-cool fashions, long-forgotten ad campaigns—as well as to the “throwaway” decade, as the ’70s were once known. Phillips’s recent show continued along these lines. Two new paintings flash back to the “natural” look of the old days: In Riot (all works 1998), four beautiful young faces graphically rendered in black and white are perfect mannequins for different shades of pastel eye shadow, while in Three Women the dark-skinned beauties could have been borrowed from a period ad for anything from cars to beer. But what’s noticeably absent is any product—there is no identifiable

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