Make Painting Great Again

Katherine Bernhardt Two Simpsons, Plantains, Basketballs, Cigarettes (Courtesy o
Katherine Bernhardt Two Simpsons, Plantains, Basketballs, Cigarettes (Courtesy of the artist and CANADA, New York, Photo by Jason Mandella)

Jerry Saltz reviews Make Painting Great Again at Canada Gallery, New York, on view through July 15, 2016. The show features works by Katherine Bernhardt, Katherine Bradford, Joe Bradley, Sarah Braman, Matt Connors, Gerald Ferguson, Jason Fox, Daniel Hesidence, Xylor Jane, Sadie Laska, Lily Ludlow, Elena Pankova, Tyson Reeder, Anke Weyer, Wallace Whitney, Michael Williams, and Dugan Nash.

Saltz writes: "Canada is known for showing a lot of painters. Seventeen in one gallery is a lot. Usually too many. Often when a gallery appears to specialize in painting the medium starts to feel like an endangered species, protected by keepers of the flame and those who think painting needs to go back to the good old days, whenever those days might have been. (The Caves?) Then there are the curators and academics who turn painting into an IRL issue of Artforum — a kind of textbook illustration, meant to be narrow, ideological, theoretically correct, black-and-white or mostly monochrome with elements of the photographic, somehow official, good for us. These people treat painting like a policy paper and a private club. None of this is going on at Canada. Not by a long shot. Not only do you never feel you are looking at things through the filters of money and professionalism, the show is a wide-ranging précis on some of the ways that painting is expanding by exploring tradition."