new-york

Ryan McGinness

Danziger Projects / Deitch Projects

The marginalia inscribed by Albrecht Dürer in the Prayer Book he illustrated for the Emperor Maximilian, which are full of witty grotesquerie and tendril-like, hyperexpressive arabesques, constitute perhaps the last grand statements of the genre. Ryan McGinness, as evidenced by recent concurrent shows at Danziger Projects and Deitch Projects, revives the practice by making typographical flourishes and stylized shapes of the kind traditionally confined to the edges of a page into his work’s central feature. In so doing, he suggests that there is no difference in either aesthetic value or emotional depth between supposedly peripheral doodling and grand central statement.

However, McGinness’s manner is rather more quixotic than Dürer’s: He dispenses with text altogether in favor of baroque decoration, excited lines and rich colors converging in spontaneous pseudologos with a legibility all

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.