Caleb De Jong reviews two concurrent exhibitions of paintings by A.R. Penck: A.R. Penck: Before the West: Selected Works from the 1970s at Leo Koenig Inc. (through February 23) and A.R. Penck: New Paintings at Michael Werner Gallery (through March 9).
De Jong writes: "Penck’s visual consistency holds at bay, through its humorous and unvaried insistence on form, mark and depiction, the restrictions Western ideology has placed on them—albeit socialist or capitalist. Penck’s paintings first denigrated the grey narrowness of communist Germany using limited but direct paint application. Now, two decades after the collapse of the socialist experiment in the west, Penck subverts the polychromatic constrictions of 21st Century capitalism using jazzed up color but a no less equally direct confrontational approach."