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Francis Bacon
Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X
1953
Des Moines Art Center
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BACON, HALF-BAKED
by Ben Davis



The large Francis Bacon show currently drawing multitudes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art really speaks for itself. You donít need any theory to love it. The hits are all there -- the wailing Popes, the naked wrestlers, the melted portraits of the British artistís colleagues and lovers. All of these are crowd-pleasers, exuding an atmosphere of fertile angst that is immediately accessible. (The first thing you see as you enter, in fact, is Baconís triptych of serpentine, phallic monsters, inspiration for the chest-bursting creature of Alien fame, a curatorial decision that hammers home the populist appeal of Bacon.)

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