New York

Vincent Desiderio

Marlborough | Chelsea

Vincent Desiderio is a painter—militantly so. Many of the paintings in this exhibition are ambitiously large (Sleep, 2008, is a mural, and When I Last Saw Paris, 2007, a triptych) and two, Sumo and Quixote, are still in progress, perhaps exhibited to draw attention to the artist’s painterly process. In fact, Desiderio began his career as a sort of reluctant expressionist, fascinated with “fugitive” gestures, each temporally suggestive—the grandly bloody splotch pictured on the right panel of When I Last Saw Paris reads as a memento mori of this fascination. But he quickly abandoned “straightforward” gesturalism as obsolete and beside the point of what became his forte: the “human aesthetic,” as Edward O. Wilson called it, or more particularly the figure, and even more particularly the body.

Sleep is a panoramic display of male and female nudes, partially covered, and usually paired in

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