For this show, art critic and curator Kim Levin has excavated rare treasures from her secret life as a painter in the 1960s and ’70s. The works are big paintings based on small photos. She rendered black-and-white images found mostly in the New York Times, in the off-register tones of television in the period and added abstract gesture to create powerful, fractured figurative works. Stylistically, the paintings have intimations of Larry Rivers, with their mix of representation and brushy obfuscation, though the occasional appearances of modernist forms make them look somewhat like academic studies.
The paintings—which include portraits of Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, the Beatles, a stunt pilot, North African horsemen, and football players—explore the personal, the topical, and the historic. It’s a powerful sketch of a wild and disturbing era, and the modifications of photojournalism seem to imply that truth is always tentative.
—Barbara A. MacAdam
Pictured: Kim Levin: YALTA II, 1965, oil on canvas, 54 by 73½ inches. Courtesy Ronald Feldman, New York.