New York

Josh Smith, Scholes Street, 2019, oil on linen, 84 × 72 1⁄8".

Josh Smith, Scholes Street, 2019, oil on linen, 84 × 72 1⁄8".

Josh Smith

David Zwirner | 525 & 533 West 19th Street

Philosophers addressing the problem of infinite regress—the impossibility of finding a first cause, since every cause must itself have a cause, which in turn must have a cause, and so on ad infinitum—make a turtle joke: If the world is supported on the back of a giant turtle, as posited in Hindu mythology, what in turn supports the turtle? The answer: It’s turtles all the way down. To think Josh Smith had that joke in mind while working on his exhibition “Emo Jungle” is tempting, not just because of the show’s surfeit of turtles—one part of the exhibition contained fifty-five paintings of them—but because the idea of eternal return seems active in his thinking. All of the turtle paintings were the same four-foot-high size (give or take an eighth inch or so) and were hung abutting one another in a friezelike installation filling three walls of the gallery’s large east room—turtles all the

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