LISA YUSKAVAGE: Small Paintings 1993–2004

Tamara Jenkins, Author . Abrams $50 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8109-4957-7

It's rare for an artist barely over 40 to get his or her own catalogue of "small" paintings, let alone the large ones. And that the accompanying essay is by Slums of Beverly Hills writer-director Jenkins (rather than an art historian) testifies to name recognition beyond the art world. What Yuskavage is famous for is her paintings of young white women with exaggeratedly shaped and sized breasts, in various stages and poses of self-examination. As Jenkins writes, "[i]n this strange psychosexual universe, female figures stand alone, baring their breasts in fields of peachy pink, lemon yellow or minty blue." The paintings have struck a chord in a youth, size- and celebrity-enhancement–obsessed culture comparable only to the success of grim portraitist John Currin. Many of the 140 full-color illustrations are full-size reproductions, allowing a chilling intimacy with the work's exploration of narcissism, self-doubt and blank, inarticulate desire. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/11/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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