• Philip Taaffe, Cape Sinope, 2006–2007, mixed media on canvas, 114 x 97 1⁄8".

    Philip Taaffe

    Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg

    IT’S NOT SO EASY to recall that first hit, that immediate emotional and intellectual warp one felt when confronted by Philip Taaffe’s transformation of a Barnett Newman or a Bridget Riley in the mid-1980s. Maybe that’s what—and who—retrospectives are really meant for: the artist’s original audience who, sent back in time, revisits its initial experience of the work. For some, Taaffe’s early paintings were highly provocative; but for all the attention they first generated it’s clear now that they were often misread. When those early paintings are seen again and in relation to all that

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