New York

Karel Funk

303 Gallery

The great recycling bin in which art history, critical theory, and market analysis dispose of their castoffs is crawling with post-ironic ironists scavenging for material not yet reworked. And as anyone who has browsed for high-end vintage clothing knows, “composite neo-retro” can look fabulous. Karel Funk is one such smart ragpicker, assembling an audacious mix of clashing styles and strategies that takes in Ellsworth Kelly, Alex Katz and Andy Warhol, Northern Renaissance altarpieces, photorealism, and the J. Crew catalogue, as well as, of course, “the male gaze.”

Key to this eclecticism is extreme simplicity. The eleven paintings in Funk’s first solo show all adopt the same format. Each is a roughly square wood panel less than twenty-four inches across depicting, in acrylic, the head and shoulders of a college-age man. The faces of the painter’s young subjects are obscured by the geometries

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