Aesthetica, John Keane


Aesthetica is a glossy cultural magazine reminiscent of the exquisite glossies that came out of Switzerland’s connoisseur closets in the 80s. Aesthetica’s grand annual art prize is one I was considering applying for, until I saw the extraordinary prize winners of the past, including the ueber extraordinary (how can I resist super-superlatives?) John Keane.  Recently, Keane has been taking off where anti-pop Gerhard Richter started in the 60s — the richly monochrome portraits. Richter has reportedly disowned those figurative works – why oh why? Or perhaps that’s only a rumor or perhaps only a passing mood of Richter’s.  Richter’s mesmerizing portraits of family, friends, and his stark, terrifying portrait series of Baader Meinhof: does he really not appreciate…?  

For me, who’s been eagerly awaiting Richter’s return to the figurative, there is John Keane as a perfect haunting. Not as quietly outraged as the young Richter was, Keane is exploring a vast dark tunnel into global suffering — while also exploring a brilliant range of painterly techniques. Beauty and terror become sublime. Actually, I imagine Keane is not afraid of anything. 

Here’s a link:


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