Art: Abstraction And Popeye's Biceps

The sweet, rambunctious paintings of Elizabeth Murray

Most fans of Elizabeth Murray's work will remember a time, only ten or twelve years ago, when the American art world decided that Painting Was Dead. Henceforth the future would belong to videotapes, "propositions," "events" and bits of string on the gallery floor. The exequies over the body were as solemn as they were premature; dust devils of argument spun through art magazines, scattering the ashes. Though no prophecy could have proved less correct -- painting has filled the horizon of American art in the '80s, almost to the point of monopoly -- a young artist needed cussedness and conviction to...

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