really old school


Zwirner & Wirth’s “Old School” explores a tantalizing mega-generational gap: the divide between sixteenth- and seventeenth-century paintings and our postmodernist counterparts. Nearly thirty landscapes, still lifes and figure paintings by old masters and contemporary artists make for a fascinating mix, telling us a little about traditions of art and a great deal about current uses for them.

The paintings have been paired according to theme and style, on walls painted a rich shade of red. A 1630 panel of a wedding procession by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (son of the great painter) depicts self-absorbed throngs with the same busyness of detail as Hilary Harkness’s “Flipwreck” (2004)—though the latter’s shipwrecked women, in sexually masochistic poses and clothes, set an entirely different tone. Anj Smith’s small canvas from 2007 boasts much thicker textures than the adjacent painting of Saint Anthony by Jacob van Swanenburgh (c. 1571-1638), but both feature fanciful monsters in compositions of torn, turbulent forms. Michael Borremans’ conventionally skillful likeness of a young man from 2006 hangs next to an impressive, if facile, portrait from c. 1664 by Caesar Boëtius van Everdingen.

more from artcritical here.