Art is never made in a vacuum, as all visual iterations must derive from something: a momentary glimpse of refracted light, a train pulling out of the station, a woman lying languorously on a bed. Whatever it is we are witness to, at least in the context of art, it has been done before. The trick is to create a compelling conversation between the ‘now’ and the ‘then,’ to find threads of association, of understanding and celebration.
Nicole Eisenman has always been a renegade maker of things that are at once luminous and sardonic. She is an artist who asks the questions we are too afraid to ponder, and then she answers them for us – with wit, grace and infinite wisdom. Her answers may not always be what we want to hear, but rest assured they are true. Nicole Eisenman and the Moderns. Heads, Kisses, Battles establishes what the catalogue essay describes as an unprecedented dialogue between the artist’s own oeuvre and that of twenty-seven modern artists, including (and perhaps most importantly) Vincent Van Gogh. This, to be sure, is not an easy task, and it is one that could easily have slipped into sentimentality were it not for the fact that there is not one sentimental bone in Eisenman’s body. [Read More…]