New York

Rudolf Stingel

Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

Rudolf Stingel’s 2005 exhibition at Paula Cooper consisted of one work, a painting of his gallerist based on a Robert Mapplethorpe portrait. Installed on the back wall of Cooper’s cavernous space, whose floors were covered with white panels that recorded visitors’ tracks, the picture turned the white cube into a shrine and its founder into a godhead. The holies were more literal in the artist’s latest show, which comprised five diminutive, black-and-white oil-on-linen paintings of saints sourced from photographs of statues and hung one per wall across two rooms. Such austerity rendered the gallery’s vaulted ceilings more cathedral-like than ever, and the canvases’ compactness (sixteen by thirteen inches) required the viewer to apprehend each one at a devotional close range before trudging to the next in a sort of stations-of-the-cross progression. The afternoon I was there, patrons quietly

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