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The Forever Now: Structure Rising

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David Salle reviews The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, on view through April 5, 2015. The show features works by works by Richard Aldrich, Joe Bradley, Kerstin Brätsch, Matt Connors, Michaela Eichwald, Nicole Eisenman, Mark Grotjahn, Charline von Heyl, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, Dianna Molzan, Oscar Murillo, Laura Owens, Amy Sillman, Josh Smith, Mary Weatherford, and Michael Williams.

Salle writes: "In her desire to connect everything to a narrative of the digital future, [curator Laurar] Hoptman misses the salient difference between the best work here and its immediate antecedents: a sense of structure. By structure I don’t mean only relational composition—though that plays a part—but more generally the sense of a painting’s internal rationale, its 'inside energy,' as Alex Katz would say, that alignment of intention, talent, and form. Hoptman wants to make a clean break for her crew from the mores of 'appropriation,' but again, the emphasis seems misplaced. Appropriation—as a style—had a tendency to stop short, visually speaking. The primary concern was with 'presentation' itself, and the work that resulted was often an analog for the screen, or field, something upon which images composed themselves into some public/private drama. Appropriation pointed to something—some psychological or cultural condition outside of the work itself—that was the basis of its claim to criticality and, at its best, excavated something deep in the psyche. But there are other things in life. At present, painting is focused on structure, discovering and molding pictorial form for its own sake."

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