East Hampton

Hernan Bas, The Revelation in the Rambles, 2020, acrylic on linen, 72 × 60". From “The Circus Has Been Cancelled.”

Hernan Bas, The Revelation in the Rambles, 2020, acrylic on linen, 72 × 60". From “The Circus Has Been Cancelled.”

“The Circus Has Been Cancelled”

Harper's Books

The circus has been cancelled, but no one seems to have told the jaunty group of weirdos posing at the center of the Genieve Figgis painting from which this exhibition takes its name. The giddy performers—a natty bug-eyed Kabuki demon wearing a top hat and toting a fuchsia parasol, a tiny woman in a ball gown, a lion, a yeti, and a topless green-skinned go-go dancer among them—look ready to put on a show. Aside from this small cohort, the cavernous big-top tent they occupy is empty, and the windows appear to have bars. Figgis has a knack for making the ghoulish, soupy goblins and half-melted aristos that inhabit her canvases feel eerily familiar, despite their fanciful distortions. In this moment of pandemic limbo, as we wait for the day when we can finally ditch our face masks, dine indoors, and work from anywhere but home, these ostensibly oblivious prisoners could be us, delusionally

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