New York

View of “Banks Violette,” 2018. Foreground: No Title/(N.O./powercorruptionandlies), 2018. Background: No Title/(.45 Grave/American Recordings), 2018. Photo: David Regen.

View of “Banks Violette,” 2018. Foreground: No Title/(N.O./powercorruptionandlies), 2018. Background: No Title/(.45 Grave/American Recordings), 2018. Photo: David Regen.

Banks Violette

Gladstone 64

View of “Banks Violette,” 2018. Foreground: No Title/(N.O./powercorruptionandlies), 2018. Background: No Title/(.45 Grave/American Recordings), 2018. Photo: David Regen.

When he effectively withdrew from the art world more than half a decade ago, Banks Violette left behind a pair of entwined legacies: as the prolific creator of persuasively ominous sculptures, paintings, and installations, and as a classic cautionary tale for early success and its excesses. His glamorously dark work of the early 2000s, which gave the then-trending thread of abjection an infusion of black-metal mordancy, was icy and slickly sullen. Meanwhile, his oft-recounted personal history—he was a richly tatted high-school dropout who’d kicked a meth habit, earned a studio-art MFA at Columbia University, and received a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art by the age of thirty-one—lent him a certain street cred, but also made him a target for critical skepticism and premonitions of schadenfreude. As it happened, Violette was, by his own admission, living

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