“ERIC FISCHL: Corrida in Ronda,” Mary Boone, Chelsea. Through December 19. Karen Rosenberg: For centuries, bullfights have been catnip to artists. Adding himself to a list that includes Vel�zquez, Manet and Picasso, Eric Fischl made a recent pilgrimage to the Corrida Goyesca in Spain. Held each fall in the Andalusian town of Ronda, it features toreros in Goya-inspired attire: rich stuff for any figurative painter. But Mr. Fischl�s nearly life-size canvases are hardly nostalgic. Instead they reckon with the current status of the bullfight, a sexy but endangered tradition losing ground to other forms of entertainment and under threat from animal-rights activists….In this particular contest, anyway, Mr. Fischl may be choosing sides. The animal looks harmless, or at least neutralized; in most of the paintings, he sits or lies on the ground, sword hilts protruding from his coat. And in a painting at the gallery entrance, Mr. Fischl presents a solo and very sympathetic bull, in a pose that implies vulnerability and reflection.
“RICHARD HAWKINS,” Greene Naftali, Chelsea Through Jan. 23. Ken Johnson: Few artists who write about their works seem to realize how painful their verbiage can be for viewers to read. But there are some who reward the effort it takes to read while standing up. The Los Angeles artist Richard Hawkins is one. Mr. Hawkins�s enjoyably diversified exhibition includes messy collages revolving around pictures of pretty young men cut out of magazines and clothing catalogs; slapdash abstract paintings that look like rejects from Mary Heilmann�s studio; and garishly colorful, cartoonish paintings of men in erotically suggestive poses and situations. Most engaging is a series of collages called �Treatise on Posteriority.� That is not a typo: each page presents several pictures of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures of athletic men shot from behind to show their well-formed buttocks and backs. The reproductions are accompanied by delightfully comical commentaries, hand-printed in white on black, that sound as if they had been written by a lascivious, homosexual art historian.
Keen to emphasize the erotic appeal of classical statuary, Mr. Hawkins suggests that it might even have served as a form of pornography….Mr. Hawkins offers a refreshingly ribald corrective to the high-minded, asexual decorum of traditional art history. (Note to gallery: Web sites featuring Flash animations are not blogger friendly, so I was unable to include images from your show in this post.)
Read the entire Art in Review column here.