Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

ARTCRITICAL PICK Joyce Pensato at Friedrich Petzel

Joyce Pensato, Batman, 2012. Enamel on linen, 80 x 80 inches. Courtesy of Friedrich Petzel Gallery.

Batman Returns, and so does color in this iconically chromophobe – or to accentuate the positive, rigorously restrictive – painter, usually, in black, white and silver.  Pensato started painting Batman in her no holds barred fast, masterfully goofy calligraphic idiom in the mid-1970s but the caped hero was thrust aside in the intervening years by such usurpers as Donald Duck and Homer, both of whom are still presences in this gutsy – almost literally! – display of painterly bravura.  Anyone who is still peddling the line that AbEx painting is inherently macho and remote from popular culture needs to take a careful look at Pensato: heiress equally to Pollock and Warhol and a fearless feminist to boot.  DAVID COHEN

Joyce Pensato: Batman Returns is on view through February 25 at 537 West 22nd Street, Tel (212) 680-9467


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