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Jim Dine at Pace is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

The Daily Pic: After years of figuration, the artist goes fearlessly abstract.

(Photo by Lucy Hogg)

Exactly one week after praising the inspired ugliness in Kandinsky’s first abstractions, here I am with “A Child In Winter Sings”, by the veteran American artist Jim Dine, which is one of the new paintings by him that I saw at Pace gallery in New York. Like Kandinsky, “Child” marks a turn away from representation, although here coming at the end of a career rather than the beginning. Either way, both “turns” show an artist avoiding easy compositional or chromatic or linear solutions, and aiming instead for a mess that barely holds together. It’s all part of Modernism’s brilliant failure of coherence, found in Cezanne and Picasso and Warhol and Nauman, when they are at their best, but only rarely in such artists as Matisse, Pollock, Lichtenstein and Judd.

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