New York

Lawrence Gipe

Joseph Helman

The panels on view from Lawrence Gipe’s series “The Last Picture Show,” 1999, are tours de force of irony, both conceptually and visually. Lifting images from Nazi-era German source material (magazine reproductions of “politically correct” paintings, pictures out of photography manuals), Gipe repaints them, often in glaring, artificial-looking colors. The result is often oddly beautiful: His simulacra glow with aesthetic virility, subliminally in Panel No. 12, where the light has a tenebrist density and intensity, and in Panel No. 5, where the female figure takes on a visually exciting, elusive edge. But the virility is more than aesthetic: It also derives from the figures and scenes, all of which are sturdy, wholesome, solid, and sometimes emotionally febrile—officially deep and stirring.

In Gipe’s works, painting and photography all but cancel each other out—it becomes difficult to say

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