Jennifer Samet interviews painter Tal R whose exhibition Tal R: Keyhole is on view at Cheim & Read through February 11, 2017.
Tal R remarks: "Bonnard and Matisse are much more dangerous to get close to than some Surrealist painter from Helsinki in the 1940s. Think about the artists your mother would like (and who very advanced painters like as well): Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Munch, De Chirico, Beckmann. You should walk next to them. I have artist friends who will forever stay close to someone like Picabia. I love Picabia, but it’s a trap to stay only with people like that. I think Picabia is a doorman. He’s a great doorman. From him, you can steal stuff; you can learn stuff. But to stay with Picabia, you’re just being an idiot. Bonnard was Bonnard until the end. His work was very much about sitting in the garden, having a cup of tea, or being in the bathroom. He always stayed very close to what he was seeing. Or Munch’s painting, 'The Yellow Log' (1912) — there is nothing beyond that. You just get beaten by that. Matisse went so far in his day; it is elite but also not elite. It is open for everybody. These artists pose a real challenge."