Bard College ART HISTORY PROGRAM

Filed under Man About Town

Tom’s Gallery Picks

Per Kirkeby, Paintings, Michael Werner Gallery, 4 East 77th St., through October 29.

Andy Warhol, Paintings of the 1970s, Skarstedt Gallery, 20 East 79th St., through October 22.

Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Gagosian Gallery, 522 West 21st St., through October 22.

Roy Lichtenstein Entablatures, Paula Cooper Gallery, 524 West 21st St., through October 22.

Doug Ohlsen, Panel Paintings from the 1960s, Washburn Gallery, 20 West 57th St., through November 12.

Per Kirkeby, Untitled, 2011

Despite a strong sentiment in some sections of the art world against painting as an art form because it lends itself so conveniently to capitalist commerce, there are scads of painting shows all over New York City right now, highlighted by the Willem DeKooning retrospective at MoMA.  To name a few, you can see recent German Neo-Expressionism in Per Kirkeby’s large floral landscapes recalling Emil Nolde at Michael Werner Gallery, and Skarsedt Gallery is showing Andy Warhol’s works from the 1970s that include lesser known of the Pop master’s subjects but demonstrate his exuberant slinging around of acrylic paint in his later works, plus his brilliant color sensibility.For a more classic Warhol theme you can see over 20 of his silk-screened Elizabeth Taylor paintings at the Larry Gagosian Gallery on 21st Street.

Andy Warhol: Liz

After the entry gallery with seven early works based on various photographs of the late actress, the main room features the famous Warhol image. As he did with Marilyn Monroe, the artist settled on one photograph of the actress’s smiling face and did color variations on it.  Several are just grainy black ink on a neutral background, and then a dozen in blazing color, her lips always crimson, her eye shadow always turquoise, her head set against a variety of color fields.

Other masters of the Pop generation on view downtown include Roy Lichtenstein with his entablature paintings, clever and gorgeous renderings of architectural moldings that are stunning in their efficient simplification (Paula Cooper Gallery).

Roy Lichtenstein, Entablature, 1974

They represent classic architectural details and are subtly humorous:  representations of walls that hang on the wall, their stretched out horizontal formats and bands of flat color gently satirize the contemporary stripe paintings of abstractionists like Kenneth Noland.

Across the street from the Lichtensteins you can glimpse a six-part panel painting from the mid 1960s by Doug Ohlsen in the window gallery of Grace Washburn, kind of an ad for his sleeper of a show at her uptown space at 20 West 57th Street.  Ohlsen, who died earlier this year, shows pristine, hard-edged abstract paintings from the late 1960s.  Typically each work consists of four to six vertical panels with spaces between them.

Doug Ohlsen, Avery, 1968

All are monochrome, but several have a square or two of another color near the top or bottom edge.  Their rich hues, pinkish violet squares against an orange field for example, evoke Mark Rothko, but stiffened up.  With their abstract austerity, luscious color, and concern with incorporating the wall within their perimeters they relate to the paintings of Blinky Palermo now on view at Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies.  But given the vagaries and power structures of the art world, they are much less well known.