Art Buzz February 2, 2012: Henry Taylor: A Visual Equivalent of the Blues, in Warm Shades on Exhibit at MOMA

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A Visual Equivalent of the Blues, in Warm Shades

Source: NYT, 2-2-12

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Henry Taylor This show of works by Mr. Taylor at MoMA PS1 includes the sculpture “Rock It” and the paintings “Warning Shots Not Required,” left, and “Peanuts.”

The putative gap between art and life is a pernicious myth. Painting in a studio is no less a form of life than, say, occupying Wall Street. Consider the exuberantly vital art of Henry Taylor, whose paintings are in an exhibition named for him at MoMA PS1.

Mr. Taylor, who lives in Los Angeles, paints fast, loose and sensuously on canvases great and small. Portraiture is his work’s center of gravity. His subjects include friends, relatives, acquaintances from the art world and off the street, and heroes from the worlds of sports and politics. Along the way he takes in downbeat cityscapes patrolled by cop cars and envisions allegories of spiritual trauma in the Land of the Free.

It is not incidental that most of his subjects are African-Americans, like himself. The opposite of an abstractionist, Mr. Taylor is a Social Realist in the best sense of that oft-maligned term. He paints roughly the rough world of his own experience, but he does so with a rare spirit of generosity and love. Visual equivalents of the blues, his paintings may resemble those by an Outsider, but they also call to mind Alice NeelRobert Colescott and Bob Thompson, among others….READ MORE

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