Karl Wirsum

Jean Albano Gallery

Still impish after all these years, Karl Wirsum’s whimsical trove of figural invention continues to mesmerize. He’s been at it since the ’60s this meticulous yet goofy rearticulation of the figure into brightly painted flat pattern, performing a tour de force intermingling of comic relief and careful construction. Goofy, but not dumb; what gives Wirsum’s work its upbeat tempo and allure is its impressive combination of insouciance and scrupulousness, its air of idiosyncratic fetish obsessively and painstakingly realized. His protagonists perpetually oscillate between two and three dimensions; Wirsum alludes to volume, space, environment, and narrative while retaining an equally fierce cornmitment to flat pattern and signage, setting up humorous and pertinent intersections. He reduces figures to iconic and cartoony signs, using high-keyed color and pancaking form to brighten and splay his;

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 2001 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.