David Carrier reviews Bill Jensen: Transgressions at Cheim & Read, New York, on view through May 9, 2015.
Carrier observes: "By sticking to his guns at times when abstraction has been beleaguered, [Jensen] earned our respect—and the right to be boldly experimental. That said, this is the strangest show, by miles, of a famous artist that I have seen in a major gallery. It’s a very daring exhibition, for it’s as if Jensen wants to put everything in his paintings. Up the street from Cheim & Read is Thomas Nozkowski’s show at Pace. Nozkowski is regularly praised (or blamed) for the variety of his compositions, for his refusal ever to adopt a signature style. His pictures are very varied, and yet, a Nozkowski is always identifiable. What, by contrast, I find in Jensen’s show is a boldly promising incoherence. This is why I admire Transformations even as I fail to understand it. But who knows what I’m missing: I have been wrong about ambitious artists before."