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Austė, Nine Powers of Nine Flowers, 1981, acrylic on paper, 29 1/2 × 41 1/2".

Austė

Greenspon

Austė, Nine Powers of Nine Flowers, 1981, acrylic on paper, 29 1/2 × 41 1/2".

“So bad it’s good.” In his 1987 review of a show by Austė in these pages, critic Carlo McCormick cited this patronizing qualifier as one possible read on the artist’s darkly campy work. It is perhaps no surprise that her unabashedly treacly confections baffled many 1980s viewers, even as Austė herself secured her place in New York’s downtown nightlife scene. The artist’s most prolific decade was coterminous with the vying neo-geo and neo-expressionist movements, neither of which had much truck with the scrawled curlicues and unapologetic girliness of her acrylics and works on paper.

For Austė’s second solo show in the past decade, she presented twenty-five works made between 1979, the year she moved to New York from Chicago, and 1992, the year she left for Connecticut. These demonstrated an unwavering sensibility informed both by punk and No Wave subcultures and by the rich

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