New York

Ed Ruscha

Gagosian Gallery (21)

Several gallery shows during the past year have testified to the late foundering of many of the original Pop artists, but Ed Ruscha's most recent appearance in New York proved a significant exception.The artist's show included work that was smart and pertinent, a vintage distilled over forty years. Rather than recycle the ideas or motifs of '60s Pop art, Ruscha has pressed forward, experimenting with methods for making Pop a cognitive or perceptual game.

Ten large canvases hanging in the main gallery adhered to a generally consistent model: The image of a mountain was doubled, like a Rorschach blot, mirroring itself on opposite sides of the canvas. Stretching across each work, over the “two” mountains, was a stenciled phrase that was also, in most cases, “mirrored”—because it was a palindrome.

Mountain imagery has always served as a visual shorthand for the sublime, from the pantheist

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