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Rackstraw Downes
Ventilation Tower with Estivating Snow Plows
1988
Private Collection
"Rackstraw Downes: Onsite Paintings, 1972-2008"
Parrish Art Museum
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RACKSTRAW DOWNES:
LIFE AT A DISTANCE

by Alexandra Anderson-Spivy



For fans of hard-core painting, the summer belonged to Rackstraw Downes, whose series of three exhibitions -- at the Parrish Art Museum, at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and at Betty Cuningham Gallery -- proved that he’s maintained his obdurate position as a reporter of the specific. It can be tough, indeed. Where’s the fun in overpasses, deserts, landfills, oil tanks, off-ramps, ventilation towers and irrigation ditches? But Downes is ruthless when it comes to making us reconsider our nondescript surroundings.

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