Sunday, September 14, 2003

Speed exhibit's works speak to sexual issues

Art review

By Marilyn Bauer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Reverie: Works from the Collection of Douglas S. Cramer is a small show with a big message.

The 16 paintings, by modern masters and emerging figurists, are nudes that address sexual identity, expression and desire. Culled from the collection of what ArtNews magazine refers to as one of the 200 most important collections of contemporary art in the world, the paintings were selected to inspire musings on the viewer's erotic responses.

"Doug keeps his finger on the pulse of big issues in art," says Julien Robson who curated Reverie for the Speed Museum of Art in Louisville. "Identity has become a hot issue. There's been a resurgence in painting, a renewal, a new energy that's been able to deal with these ideas in painting, photography and sculpture."

For example, Roy Lichtenstein's reclining nude, rendered in his signature Benday dots, Lari Pittman's organic inner landscape "Reason to Rebuild" lead the viewer toward a range of possible interpretations.

Scenes such as David Hockney's drawing "Nude Boy, Los Angeles" and Eric Fischl's "Untitled" (Woman in a shower) require the viewer to create a narrative. Kurt Kauper's amusing "insider look" at Cary Grant is inspired.

"You are not going to see this quality of painting all together, anywhere," says Robson. "Reverie is a rare opportunity to see these works in an intense exhibition unusual for this region."

If you go

What: Reverie: Works from the Collection of Douglas S. Cramer

When: Through Sept. 28.

Where: Speed Art Museum, 2035 S. Third St., Louisville

There's more: A panel discussion: Cramer, curator Julien Robson and art critic Jeffrey Deitch, 6 p.m. Sept. 25

Information: (502) 634-2700

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