new-york

Susan Rothenberg

Sperone Westwater

Nearly impossible, it seems, not to start with the horses, even though they make no appearance in Susan Rothenberg’s latest canvases. Indeed, it is telling how very thoroughly, since first materializing in her work (over three decades ago), Rothenberg’s equine forms have become identified with the artist and how, in a sense, they would seem to shadow every form she has turned to since (to say nothing of the critical discourse attending her oeuvre). Appearing at a moment—the mid-’70s—when newly minted postmodern ideas were putting heat on painting, Rothenberg’s horses seemed at once to reintroduce representational content and to defer it. Included, for instance, in Richard Marshall’s “New Image Painting” show at the Whitney Museum in 1978 for, presumably, her turn to recognizable images, Rothenberg was nonetheless the first to denounce any attachment to the animal. “The interest in the

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