In the `60s Nicholas Krushenick was widely regarded as the first abstract Pop artist. Before Lichtenstein produced his famous brushstroke paintings, Krushenick turned out big, brash, cartoonish parodies of Ab Ex works. His witty, hard-edge compositions in saturated colors punned on Greenbergian notions of the picture plane. In the process, the artist wound up creating a painted universe with its own set of laws and ideals. As the influence of Pop dimmed in favor of trendier trends, Krushenick's work all but disappeared from view. In recent years, he has showed infrequently and focused on his teaching career.
This exhibition proves, however, that the time is ripe for a reassessment of Krushenick's achievement. The eight paintings on view form a powerful introduction, or reintroduction, to the work. Ranging from Long Beach (1973), with its thrusting arrows of purple and white over a blinding orange ground, to smaller recent works such as Little Egypt II (1992), which features a mound of crisscrossing yellow and black lines set against a brilliant red ground, Krushenick's painting seems fresh and as robust as ever.
DAVID EBONY is a contributing editor to Art in America. He is working on a book about the life and work of Graham Sutherland.