Robert Bechtle, Bob’s Sebring, 2011, oil on linen, 41 3/8 x 59 3/8".

Robert Bechtle

Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St

Robert Bechtle, Bob’s Sebring, 2011, oil on linen, 41 3/8 x 59 3/8".

By now, the once-provocative innovations of Photorealism are so embedded in contemporary art that they barely register at all. Take a photographic image, paint it faithfully from a projected slide: This method is ubiquitous, deployed in a wide range of ways to a variety of effects. So it is surprising to be reminded just how offensive this practice once was. Promulgated by OK Harris gallery in the late 1960s, Photorealism, for artists such as Richard Estes, Ralph Goings, or John Baeder, was a logical extension of Pop art. But, at that moment of high Minimalism and Conceptualism, its emphasis on representation felt cloying and docile—far too commercial, and far too easy. No doubt recent years have looked on this movement more kindly. A major survey of such work, “Hyperréalismes USA, 1965–75,” took place at the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Strasbourg, France, in 2003,

to keep reading

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

Not registered for 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 March 2014 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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