The Met surveys artist Lucas Samaras (born 1936), a New York art-world fixture for more than 50 years, whose category-defying pieces testify to his indelibly idiosyncratic aesthetic vision. As a performance artist, sculptor, painter and photographer, Samaras's work has been rooted in the late-1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to a cavalcade of styles (Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptualism), and in a sense, he borrowed and combined elements of all of them. He's probably best known for his work with Polaroids, for which he'd pose and then distort the images as they developed by running them under warm water, before rubbing them with his fingers or incising them. The results were equally comical, surreal and monstrous, and widely copied. But it is precisely this prankster's sense of fun that energizes all his pieces.
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