David Deutsch at Jay Gorney

david deutschDavid Deutsch, White Chrome Rotunda (1994), oil on linen, 70-2/5″ x 83-1/10″; courtesy the artist

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Deutsch’s reputation has been more impressive than his art, mainly because his canvases cultivate a non-committal dryness that sticks as an attitude when the images don’t quite do so as painting. This time around, the images do stick, especially the fields of framed portraits the bulge slightly inward. These are indelibly eccentric pictures; their peculiarity made me laugh out loud. All the same, Deutsch’s work is still non-committal and dry. In the end, it’s annoying: obfuscation doesn’t equal depth no matter how handsomely crafted the work. Paintings don’t have to be obvious to hook the viewer, but they should have a point–other than trumpeting the artist’s own cleverness, of course.

© 1995 Mario Naves

A version of this review was originally published in the January-February edition of The New York Review of Art.

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