new-york

Wayne Gonzales

Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

By addressing the complex relation between photography and the construction and dissemination of history, Wayne Gonzales’s new work inserts itself in what appears to be a burgeoning genre: post-photographic history painting. Taking the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy as their point of departure, these photo-derived acrylics (all 2001) recall other recent art that has tackled politically weighty subject matter—Gerhard Richter’s 18. Oktober 1977 paintings, Luc Tuymans’s Belgian Congo series, and, perhaps most pointedly, Andy Warhol’s own chronicles of the Kennedy assassination. Like these narrative cycles, Gonzales’s work demonstrates the unavoidable contingency of representations of history. In an era in which photography’s truth-value has been destabilized, painting—wearing its fictiveness on its sleeve—reemerges as a viable vehicle for examining the past.

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