New York

Lucas Samaras

Whitney Museum of American Art

“Unrepentant Ego: The Self-Portraits of Lucas Samaras” wasted no time and exercised suitably little restraint in announcing its larger-than-life subject/object, emblazoning the entrance to the exhibition with a colossal photograph of the artist’s face. Of course, Samaras’s career-long project of relentless self-scrutiny has always had theatrical power to spare. Over the last five decades, the Greek-born New Yorker has deployed performative nerve, killer technique, and sheer obsessive force of will to produce what is among the most vivid personal documentary programs in the history of artmaking. A Narcissus who fell into his own reflection and began happily splashing away, he’s made a spectacle not only of himself but of the self, as few others have.

Underlying the show’s marquee treatment of its star were real scope and substance: Curator Marla Prather’s strategic orchestration of the

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