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“Francis Picabia: Late Paintings”

Michael Werner | New York

Way back in the twentieth century, the Lord saw that, in later life, some of the saints of early modern art had begun to commit heresy, and He decreed that at this critical point they were to be desanctified. The fall of rebel angels included, of course, such late-style dropouts as Chagall, de Chirico, and Picabia, and even embraced postwar Picasso. But around 1980, when modernism no longer seemed so modern, one blasphemer after another began to take on the lure of forbidden fruit, challenging us to flick a switch or two and to look again at what once seemed beyond the pale of aesthetic decency. Weary of familiar catechisms, I was eager to go with this flow; and in 1983, in a spirit of serious impudence, I assumed the task of writing about the later work of Picabia, as then seen at the Mary Boone/Michael Werner Gallery. This anthology of what seemed the ultimate in silly and irrelevant

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