R.C. Baker’s fictive, painterly narratives at Zone

In April, Village Voice art critic R.C. Baker has a show at Zone:Contemporary Art (formerly Zone: Chelsea Center for the Arts) that combines art, fiction, and design to create a multifaceted narrative that arcs from the Moscow show trials of 1937 to President Nixon’s resignation, in 1974. Divided into four sections, ” . . . and Nixon’s coming” views the turbulent artistic and social ferment of the mid-20th century through the experiences of the story’s main character, Kirby Holland, and through his artwork, including academic drawings and studies after the old masters, comic-book illustrations, and amalgams of Abstract Expressionism, Pop, and graphics. According to the press release, whether figurative or abstract, none of the art functions as illustration; rather, the images “create a parallel track to the text. Kirby progresses from earnest art student to member of an army unit charged with repatriating Nazi loot to comic-book illustrator caught up in McCarthy-era witch hunts to determined and eclectic painter at a time—the 1970s—when painting was viewed by many as irrelevant, if not completely dead….” Read more.

On Saturday, April 18, at 1 pm, MISTER Baker will read from “ … and Nixon’s coming” and discuss the work in the exhibition as well as the relationship between criticism and fiction.

R.C. Baker: … and Nixon’s coming,” Zone: Contemporary Art, New York, NY. April 2 through May9.

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