reviews

Jennifer Bartlett

Jennifer Bartlett established her reputation with her 1975–76 work Rhapsody. The painting consists of a grid of 987 square panels offering a compendium of artistic genres and motifs—geometric structuralism, representation, abstraction, the monochromatic, hatch marks, brushstrokes, pencil lines, and on and on. The piece fit perfectly with the nascent postmodern, pre-“Pictures” moment, a time when young artists were beginning to appropriate freely from and play with myriad historical styles in art, B movies, and other image banks in culture. Rhapsody also set the terms for the rest of Bartlett’s work, as she has consistently, self-consciously utilized divergent aspects of a painterly repertoire to create something new. She has also returned to the grid, using it to anchor her more gestural abstractions—while playing on its structure almost sculpturally, making every canvas into a kind of

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