David Kessler (b. 1950),
David Kessler (b. 1950), "Surface Calligraphy," 2005, acrylic on abraded aluminum, 72 x 48 in., collection of Neil Jenney

New Britain Museum of American Art
New Britain, Connecticut
Through January 1, 2023

In 2018, the New Britain Museum of American Art presented a retrospective devoted to the great realist painter Neil Jenney, who was born in 1945 only 30 miles away in the Connecticut town of Torrington. Now Jenney has returned to guest-curate an intriguing exhibition, “American Realism Today,” that encompasses more than 50 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by 21 artists.

Among those represented are Leonard Dufresne, Kathleen Gilje, Susan Grayson, Tim Hoffman, Larry Kagan, David Kessler, Victor Leger, Robert Lobe, Joseph McNamara, James Prosek, Faith Ringgold, Sally Ross, Donald Sultan, Ky-young Sung, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, and Mercer Tullis — as well as Jenney himself.

In his introduction to the project, Jenney is quick to highlight the enormous impact on 20th-century realism made by Ivan Karp (1926–2012). After serving as the first art critic at The Village Voice and then as the Manhattan dealer Leo Castelli’s top lieutenant, in 1969 Karp founded his own influential gallery (O.K. Harris).

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