Oil on canvas
65 x 82 in
Galerie Barbara Weiss
A succinct Nicole Eisenman retrospective of twenty-two paintings and three sculptures, at the New Museum, is accidentally well timed to the recent news that the Mac-Arthur Foundation has awarded a “genius” grant to the spectacularly talented, darkly hilarious New York artist. That’s good. Any attention drawn to Eisenman benefits conversation about contemporary art. At fifty-one—tall and stovepipe slim, with a strikingly long face beneath close-cropped black hair—Eisenman has mellowed only slightly from the raucous wunderkind who burst onto the scene in the 1995 Whitney Biennial. Since then, she has led a kind of one-woman insurgency, bidding to reshape the field, with figurative works that collapse the political into the personal and the personal into an erudite devotion to painting. She paints narrative fantasies that look bumptiously jokey at first, but reveal worlds of nuanced thought and feeling. They must be judged in person; in reproduction they lose the masterly touch that is Eisenman’s signature. The MacArthur Foundation cited her for restoring “to the representation of the human form a cultural significance that had waned during the ascendancy of abstraction in the 20th century.” I’d like it to be true. Eisenman’s resourceful Expressionism hints at the power of narrative painting to re-situate the art world in the world at large.
A succinct Nicole Eisenman retrospective of twenty-two paintings and three sculptures, at the New Museum, is accidentally well timed to the recent news that the Mac-Arthur… more
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