Jonathan Lasker: Telling the Tales of Painting, About Abstraction at the End of the Millennium.
On the heels of Jonathan Lasker's most stimulating gallery show in years comes this coffee table book on his work (with the rather unfortunate subtitle, "Telling the Tales of Painting"). Focusing on a series of what the artist calls "Maquettes"--oil studies on paper reproduced here actual size--instead of the canvases themselves, the book offers a convincing argument for Lasker's work on the basis of the integrity of his ideas. Unfortunately, since he has been able to preserve the freshness of the vision that comes across so clearly in his studies in only a few of his full-size paintings, one could also argue that such a publication risks presenting the artist more in terms of what he is capable of doing than what he has actually accomplished. The lengthy text, which veers from insight to literary affectation to overstating the obvious without pausing for air, could have benefited from some judicious editing. Yet despite the strangled verbiage, this volume deserves attention if only for its respectful treatment of a hot painter from the '80s who suddenly looks as if he's only going to get better with age.