Ross Bleckner, “Pharmaceutria”

Art, Contemporary art
Ross Bleckner, Palms, Handwriting or Faces, 2019
Photograph: Courtesy Petzel Gallery

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As both a painter and a bold-faced name, Ross Bleckner climbed to the pinnacle of art-world superstardom during the Reagan era with the help of dealer extraordinaire Mary Boone. Now Boone is heading to jail (for tax fraud) while Bleckner has landed on his feet in this inaugural show at Petzel after a five-year absence from New York’s gallery scene. Incorporating figurative and abstract motifs rendered with blurry brush marks in a stygian palette, his signature canvases were brooding reflections on the Age of AIDS—which, depending on your taste, were either elegiac or portentous. Yet these works indubitably made an impression, which accounts for this return after a period out of the limelight (joining fellow ’80s doyens Peter Halley and David Salle on the comeback trail). The compositions in this exhibit continue in the same crepuscular vein as previously, though here they’re meant to evoke something equally as dark as the AIDS epidemic: The fallout from Trump’s election.



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