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Philip Taaffe, Imaginary Landscape I, 2013, mixed media on canvas, 37 1/2 x 37 5/8".

Philip Taaffe

Luhring Augustine | Chelsea

Philip Taaffe, Imaginary Landscape I, 2013, mixed media on canvas, 37 1/2 x 37 5/8".

I’ve liked Philip Taaffe’s work since I first saw it, in the early to mid-1980s, but I’ve also been puzzled by its reception—by its considerable success and reputation. That puzzle was pointed up for me this summer, when this show of thirteen works mostly from 2013, all but one mixed media on canvas or linen, ran a few blocks away from a simultaneous exhibition by the Pattern and Decoration (P&D) artist Robert Zakanitch, which I wrote on here last month. P&D emerged in the 1970s, won a good deal of attention, then largely fell from critical grace; just a few years later, Taaffe’s early shows were received rapturously, as his work has pretty much been ever since—yet many of his strategies, both in the new work and all along, are not just prefigured by P&D but fully mature there. Not only did artists such as Zakanitch, Joyce Kozloff, Kim MacConnel, and others play with

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