Peter Saul, San Quentin #1 (Angela Davis at San Quentin), 1971, oil on canvas, 71 × 94".

Peter Saul

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

Peter Saul, San Quentin #1 (Angela Davis at San Quentin), 1971, oil on canvas, 71 × 94".

HOW LONG UNTIL Peter Saul is rediscovered once and for all? His off-putting yet oddly appealing paintings—marked by a Day-Glo palette, cartoonish (dis)figuration, and obscene imagery—emerged in the early 1960s, gaining him prominence and notoriety by the decade’s end. Though he has consistently shown at galleries and smaller museums, Saul’s work has always been seen as slightly out of step—puerile, even. Deeply irreverent toward art, the art world, and the world at large, his paintings maintain a willful distance from prevailing notions of good taste, assailing decorum with a vile arsenal of electric chairs, STDs, crucifixes, guns, improbable anatomy (bugged-out eyeballs protruding like tumescent scrota), American flags, and a lot of bodily fluids. Saul’s work moves beyond perversity for perversity’s sake by plainly and openly acknowledging the darkest aspects of

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