"Bad Faith" at James Fuentes Gallery — which also presents pieces by Halley, Diamond, and Robert Morris — imagines gay icon Joe Dallesandro as a character from a play by the Marquis de Sade. It's a work that gracefully looks beyond its narrow horizons — something that cannot be said about so much of the art of this time.
Installation view courtesy James Fuentes Gallery.
The Eighties and Nineties were a time of widespread impoverishment for art; backed into a corner by a coordinated conservative onslaught, artists splintered into provincialism. Some, like the painter Peter Halley, painted pretty abstract pictures supposedly made rigorous by the artist's interest in French theory; others, like Jessica Diamond, took to writing glib phrases on walls in a feeble play to outmaneuver the market ("I HATE BUSINESS," one work says). But there were outliers: Nayland Blake, at his best, made peerless sculptural assemblages. One work, included in the exhibition