ARTICLE JOHN GANZ
PHOTOGRAPHY JASON MANDELLA
The paintings of Jack Goldstein—who began his career as a performance artist and experimental filmmaker—have always been given short shrift. Because this period of painting coincided with the 1980s painting bull market he’s been labeled as something of a sell out. Venus Over Manhattan’s new show Where is Jack Goldstein? (November 14 - January 15), featuring thirteen of the artist’s canvases from 1976 to 1986, aims to rehabilitate the reputation of Goldstein’s early paintings.
Burning Window—a window illuminated by flickering red lights that greets you upon entry to the darkened gallery—immediately casts a hellish glow to the exhibit. Paintings that depict World War II bombers dodging tracers, explosions and bursts of lightning complete the apocalypse ambiance. It’s a type of thundering excess that’s grown uncommon in contemporary painting, which favors the whimsical, slight and quirky rather than attempting the grand and sublime. For the spectacle and sense of contrast alone, it’s a worthwhile show: a reminder of a time when New York was still Gotham.
Venus Over Manhattan, 980 Madison Ave, 3rd Floor