John Yau reviews works by Lee Mullican at James Cohan (through June 18) and Lee Mullican: The Fifties at Susan Inglett (closed).
Yau writes: "Mullican’s paintings swirl, shimmer, vibrate, and seem capable of breathing. They bring the molecular, the wave-like, and the cosmic together. Made between the late fifties and mid-sixties, during the rise of the Hippie subculture and the growing use of mind-altering drugs, Mullican’s paintings reject the formalist and materialist art being made and celebrated at the time. His art belongs to what John Ashbery, in another context, called “the other tradition.” I would call it the occult or hidden vein of postwar art history, that which is anti-rational and given to employing non-western beliefs and perceptual systems – more likely the coins needed for the I Ching than the color theories of Josef Albers."