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Painterly Realism: An Incomplete History

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Jed Perl reviews the exhibition See It Loud: Seven Post-War American Painters at the National Academy Museum, New York, on view through January 26, 2014. The show features work by Leland Bell, Paul Georges, Peter Heinemann, Albert Kresch, Stanley Lewis, Paul Resika and Neil Welliver.

Perl writes that the show fails to offer "the expansive alternative history so many of us hoped for." He continues: "Even those who admire much of the painting in 'See It Loud' should be gobsmacked by a show that overlooks Nell Blaine, Lois Dodd, Jane Freilicher, Grace Hartigan, Mercedes Matter, and Louisa Matthiasdottir. With 'See It Loud,' the National Academy has performed the rather extraordinary feat of turning a postwar movement in which women were every bit as prominent as men into a boys' club with not a single girl in sight. This is not only politically incorrect; it’s historically incorrect. Women were leaders in postwar painterly realism—certainly Blaine, Freilicher, Hartigan, and Matthiasdottir were much more prominent than some of the men in this show—so how can the story be told without them?"

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