“Keith Mayerson: My American Dream”

Art Free
 (Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough Chelsea)
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Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough ChelseaKeith Mayerson, Abraham Lincoln, 2013
 (Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough Chelsea)
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Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough ChelseaKeith Mayerson, Andrew and I, 2013-14
 (Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough Chelsea)
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Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough ChelseaKeith Mayerson, Flag, 2010
 (Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough Chelsea)
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Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough ChelseaKeith Mayerson, JFK / Stars and Stripes Forever, 2006
 (Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough Chelsea)
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Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough ChelseaKeith Mayerson, New Year’s Eve Empire, 2014
 (Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough Chelsea)
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Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough ChelseaKeith Mayerson, Rubber Soul (John Looking Up), 2003
 (Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough Chelsea)
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Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough ChelseaKeith Mayerson, Sitting Bull, 2013
 (Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough Chelsea)
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Courtesy the Artist/Marlborough ChelseaKeith Mayerson, View from the Whitney on Opening Night, Wednesday 4/22/15, 2015

The artist supersizes his quirky, sleeper-hit installation for last year’s Whitney Biennial, My American Dream, with 150 canvases hung floor-to-ceiling. They span a quarter century, making this a quasi-retrospective, though Keith Mayerson paints in so many styles that the exhibit could pass for a group show.

The subjects range from concentric, targetlike abstractions to images from family photos. Mayerson designates each wall as one “act” of an optimistic gay fantasia on national themes.

 The precise story, however, remains opaque. The hermetic, idiosyncratic nature of Mayerson’s subject matter and paint-handling suggest affinities with artists outside the mainstream, such as Louis Eilshemius or Bob Thompson. Even his most photorealistic paintings—a series of Manhattan vistas and hallucinatory Southern California landscapes under roiling skies—testify to the animistic intensity driving this show.

By: Joseph R. Wolin

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