New York

Tommy White

Harris Lieberman

Beginning in 1951, Robert Rauschenberg produced a number of so-called black paintings, which, with their thick, cracked surfaces, later prompted Helen Molesworth to suggest their resonance with “fecal matter: the smeared quality of the paint, the varying degrees of viscosity, and the color—shit brown and black.” Her reading takes seriously the twin poles of pleasure and disgust that Rauschenberg so expediently summons. And yet, in his characteristic acts of wiping, pressing, and staining, he errs on the side of tactility—however exquisite—which is to say of desublimation. “Rauschenberg,” as Molesworth makes clear, “radically reinserts the lower body into art.”

Tommy White’s work picks up where Rauschenberg’s leaves off. For his second solo show at Harris Lieberman Gallery, White offered the optic and the haptic in equal measure. His five epic canvases—the pictorial scope and physical

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