New York

James Rosenquist

Gagosian Gallery (21)

I HEREBY PLEDGE to stop repeating along with everyone else that Jeff Koons's paintings look like James Rosenquist's. As if to forcibly remind us just how different his art is from that of his ostensible followers, Rosenquist has effected an important shift in his work—not an about-face, but the kind of dramatic change that demonstrates just what's been essential all along. He had always put the techniques and imagery of mass communication in the service of painting, not vice versa; as suggestive as his accumulations of sometimes topical, sometimes nostalgic mass-cultural imagery could be, what gave his best works their charge were really the sparks struck by pictorial juxtapositions that always tended to neutralize their own image content, the better to exploit color, shape, and, finally, sheer sensation. Now those dazzling surface qualities are just about all that's left. In these

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