New York

Matt Saunders

Harris Lieberman

Had Warhol dropped the irony that made him who he was and embraced the romanticism that undeniably coursed through his work (and life), his art might have looked a lot like Matt Saunders’s. Like the King of Pop, Saunders makes serial, photo-derived images of celebrity icons and manipulates their surfaces with washes of paint. In his 2006 exhibition at Harris Lieberman, he showed works depicting the faces of male screen stars from generations past (Jean-Paul Belmondo, Buster Keaton), painted on Mylar and frosted with a lush sheen of oil paint and metallic silver ink. The effect is gorgeous and alienating. The arch, vintage faces are larger than life, and Saunders’s glossy haze is in keeping with the stars’ moody, removed, and elevated air. The portraits are like Ron Galella’s tabloid photos, bringing viewers so close and yet keeping them as distant from the subjects as ever.

The muses in

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2009 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.