Posts Tagged ‘Painting in the Midwest’

Ed Paschke at Gagosian, March 18-April 24, 2010. Personally I’m very-very happy to see Paschke in a place to get the attention, and any bump in status, that getting shown in this blue-chip brings..

It also puts me in mind of a question I ask myself occassionally (off on a tangent):  what happened to all the gnarly figure under-duress painting that used to happen in the Midwest?  Seems like you can trace back this great tradition of wild figurative/narrative painting in the Midwest—Mauricio Lasansky, Ivan Albright, some of the wackier Regionalists, Peter Saul, the Imagists, AfriCOBRA, Donald Roller Wilson, James McGarrell, and on and on.  Through most of the last hundred years, there’s almost nothing like this on the East Coast, where much cooler, more refined tendencies held sway through major and minor movements.  Richard Lindner being one of the few exceptions I can think of (someone I associate closely with Paschke in spirit, even if there isn’t any direct connect between the two).  There might have been some concurrent tendencies during Neo-Expressionism’s moment.  But even then, Paschke and Peter Saul really do make Basquiat and Carroll Dunham look artsy and ivory-tower.  At some point, the situtation reversed.   New York has plenty of unruly, blush-inducing figurative painting (think John Currin, Lisa Yuskavage, Jason Fox, Inka Essenhigh, Will Cotton, Steve DiBenedetto) while, as far as I can tell, dominant trends in the Midwest are Geometric Abstraction and painterly landscape.  Landscape especially makes sense, but I still wonder why the figurative oddballs have gotten fewer and further between.

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