Cary Leibowitz, “I Need To Grow Up And Be Taken Seriously Said The Clown At the Urinal”

Art, Contemporary art
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4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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“Cary is ugly, Cary is dead, Oh Cary what’s going on in your head?” wonders a pink-and-yellow panel in professional loser Cary Leibowitz’s uproarious new show. The answer? A revivified obsession with Joan Collins. A couple of years ago, the artist bought his husband a desk that once belonged to the Dynasty star, and which still contained a stash of ephemera. The material prompted paintings and photocollages celebrating Collins’s camp-icon status, the phrase “Joan Collins has a headache” appearing in multiple colorways. Other pieces cite Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland and Phyllis Diller (“Phyllis Diller if u do Phyllis Diller if u don’t”).

Leibowitz, formerly a.k.a. Candyass, is an established master—if that’s the right word—of anxious, self-deprecating wit, the sources of which are wholly revealed by the title of his 2001 painting, Do These Pants Make Me Look Jewish? In the packed and restless “I Need to Grow up,” this special talent, honed through the slacker-friendly ’90s, meets the artist’s more recent infatuation with Americana. At Invisible-Exports, the results include a vase scrawled with the words “Respect for the United States Constitution is a turn-on!” and another text painting that implants a hopeful new vision for the country: “Emma Gonzalez crossing the Delaware.”

By: Michael Wilson

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