New York

“The Painted World”

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center

As much as curator Bob Nickas structured “The Painted World” mainly around color schemes (orchestrating rooms of black, red, green, and blue paintings, with strategic chromatic anomalies only intensifying the effect and, perhaps, signifying potential) and in terms of the way in which—as the wall text put it—“abstract painting continues to be explored and reexamined by successive generations of artists, reflecting the times in which it is made, with an awareness of, and building on, its history,” this show was really centered around Wayne Gonzales’s brilliant White House, 2003, whose eponymous subject matter can only be discerned at a distance.

The closer one moves to Gonzales’ monochromatic, brainteasing take on pointillism in the age of pixelism, the more diffuse and disembodied the image of the Presidential residence becomes. Even at point-blank range, it defies logic: Any coherence is

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