“Tiepolo Meets Mad Magazine”

The 61 works in this exhibition… span the career of an American painter whose art has, for more than half a century, both diagnosed national maladies and been shaped by them. The result is work that’s virtuosically bizarre in style (Tiepolo meets Mad magazine) and ecumenically offensive in content. Whatever your ethnic, sexual or political persuasion, there is something here to give you ethical pause, to bring out an inner censor you didn’t know was there.
(Holland Carter, “The Wild, Anti-Authoritarian Art of Peter Saul,” NYTimes, 2-13-20)

I don’t warm to Peter Saul’s paintings a great deal, but I do find stimulation in the motivation behind them and in how he has chosen many of his subjects.

[When] Mr. Saul returned from Europe to California in 1964, he was clear on what he wanted, and didn’t want, from art… He didn’t want the pretensions — the ego, the angst — left over from Abstract Expressionism. And he didn’t want the social trappings associated with a mainstream career… What he did want was to be able to paint what he pleased and to have his work noticed. And one way to get people looking was to take subjects from a source they cared about: the news.

At 85 Saul is still hard at work, and claims in recent years, writes Holland Carter skeptically, “that all he’s ever really been interested in was opportunistically grabbing attention by being outrageous.”

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Quotations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.