New York

Stefan Kürten

Alexander and Bonin

Looking at Stefan Kürten’s painting Long Time Now, 2002, I suddenly thought of an old children’s-book illustration for a long-unremembered nursery rhyme: “Little Jack Homer sat in a corner, / Eating his Christmas pie”—that one. The artist had imagined a small boy sitting scrunched on the floor in a comer, gazing wonderingly at a pie he held on his lap. Though the child was brightly lit, the room’s walls, towering above him, rose up in shadowy darkness—and they were covered with the wildest wallpaper, a universe of magical symbols and signs. Even now I love that picture: Surrounded by intimations of the enormous world, wide, various, and not completely safe, the boy is yet intent on immediate pleasures and nourishments, if a little awed by them as well.

Long Time Now shows a familiar kind of interior, a modernist living room. In a style once radical and now commonplace in suburbia, the

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