new-york

Jonathan Lasker, Pre-Fab View, 1981, oil on canvas, 30 x 40".

Jonathan Lasker

Cheim & Read

Jonathan Lasker, Pre-Fab View, 1981, oil on canvas, 30 x 40".

Beleaguered in the last decades of the twentieth century, painting nonetheless was granted provisional life, even by an intellectual elite determined to undermine its centuries-honored prestige. This eleventh-hour reprieve was achieved by attributing to painting’s few tolerated exemplars a significant trope—the monochrome, say, or the grid, or the simulacrum, or a methodology that paralleled photographic practice (other than that of verisimilitude, to be sure). Jonathan Lasker survived these decades of Inquisition by fetishizing an unexpected element, that of “midcentury moderne” (let’s call it that for want of a better designation). If we allow that an entire style can itself be viewed as a fundamental visual episteme or archetype, Lasker presents the curious problem of a painter whose work may be of significantly greater import than revealed by its patent ingratiations

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the May 2012 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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