new-york

Alex Katz

Peter Blum/PaceWildenstein/Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Does a painting by Alex Katz have an inner life? Silly question, you say: Of course it does. Any image by a bona fide modern artist has an inner life, and Katz’s credentials on that score are impeccable. The Brooklyn-born, seventy-four-year-old painter studied at places whose names are virtually synonymous with turpentine and canvas (Cooper Union, Skowhegan). Even the move to the flat, cool manner that became his signature proved his modernist chops: In the late ’50s, when Abstract Expressionism was the house style of serious, progressive American painting, Katz went bravely against the grain, as any good modernist should. He’s more or less stuck to his guns, albeit with the requisite expansion of scale and subject matter (into landscapes, both rural and urban), for forty-plus years. Several generations of young painters have gone to school on his informal-but-knowing canvases. Katz, at

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