“Ed Paschke,” curated by his former studio assistant Jeff Koons. Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY. Through April 24. Ken Johnson reports: Imagine a phosphorescent underground peopled by pimps, strippers, hustlers, wrestlers, fetishists and other lavishly accessorized miscreants from the lower depths of American society. Though clearly derived from photographic sources, Mr. Paschke�s portraits of such outsider luminaries are simplified, irradiated from within and cast in sickly colors, as if he�d envisioned them in fever dreams. In the late �80s Mr. Paschke began painting images that looked as if they were broadcast by a television on acid, with lines of neon-bright visual static coursing over the ghostly heads of vaguely menacing men. Few painters have captured the shifty, electric spirit of postindustrial capitalism so vividly.
“Marcia Hafif: From the Inventory: Black Paintings, 1979-1980,” Newman Popiashvili Gallery, Chelsea. Through April 3. Roberta Smith reports: As usual Hafif simply wanted to put brush to canvas, leaving a certain mark in a certain color and proceeding from one stroke to the next, beside or over its predecessor, until the entire surface was covered to her liking, in a process both devotional and workmanlike. The colors she used here include the darkest of ultramarine blues and burnt umbers applied in loose, substantial strokes that give the surfaces a feathery softness. Each of the four paintings here, all measuring 7 feet by 6 � feet, has its own qualities of tone and texture, nearness and farness, like various night skies. Their differences, while subtle, emerge without undue taxation and with a deeply characteristic Hafifian earnestness that seems to say: Just do it and mean it; it will be new enough.