Wanting It

It's too bad the pictures, or the images, aren't as interesting as the overall idea. One painting is pretty much like the next: a surreal portrait—part animal, part human, a lot of tits—set against some nondescript background. Landers says these works were inspired by Magritte's paintings of the late 1940s, but they're oddly reminiscent of the early clown portraits of George Condo, as well as thrift-store art, and the keep-on-truckin' cartooning of R. Crumb.

In the early '90s, Landers showed his generation that everything was open to an artist: he made paintings, sculptures, videos, cassettes of himself singing; he wrote a book. Since 1996, he has even contributed a monthly painting/column to Spin. But more important is his Rabelaisian hunger, his romantic—and incredibly American—struggle for greatness.

Everyartist, only more so: Football Duck (1998), The Myth of King Shitas, and The Perfect Truth (both 1999) at Andrea Rosen
Robin Holland
Everyartist, only more so: Football Duck (1998), The Myth of King Shitas, and The Perfect Truth (both 1999) at Andrea Rosen

Details

Sean Landers
Andrea Rosen Gallery
525 West 24th Street
Through May 22

Here is an artist who, while he may lack the essential quality of genius, is striving for it nonetheless. And this is moving, not pathetic, because it is so sincere and so exposed. His writing and his paintings are love poems to greatness and possibility. This show is not a "success," but it is a kind of victory. With his last show, it seemed that Landers was about to fade from view. His new work puts us on notice that he intends to stick around—and in our craw.

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