Little surprise

By KEN GREENLEAF  |  February 3, 2010

There's a perhaps-unintended pedagogic subtext in this show and its near neighbor, the Warhol/Basquiat. Basquiat didn't have much in the way of painting chops, and relied on shock-value and energy, but that's not as interesting as the distinction between the Warhol Polaroid portraits and the painted portraits in the next room. Portraits are often reflections of status, affluence, or fame, and that's true of both sets of pictures. The difference is that the Warhols are interesting (if at all) only because of the context of Warhol's fame and prices. His pictures are empty — the paintings are not. The distinction reveals volumes about a whole segment of contemporary art.

Ken Greenleaf can be reached atken.greenleaf@gmail.com.

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