80s Art World ‘It’ Boy Ross Bleckner Is Having a New York Moment

80s Art World ‘It’ Boy Ross Bleckner Is Having a New York Moment

Artist Ross Bleckner has work in six new shows on now or opening soon.

By Laura van Straaten for Artnet - 31 March 2016

New York artist Ross Bleckner has work in six new shows on now or opening soon, including his first solo show in the Middle East, opening in April at Leila Heller Dubai, followed by what is sure to be the art happening of the Hamptons this summer, a group show that unites him with his fellow 80s art-world it-boys David Salle and Eric Fischl at the Parrish Art Museum on Long Island.

While this much attention is akin to what Bleckner enjoyed in his heyday in the early 1990s, don’t call it a comeback. “I don’t like to use that word,” says his New York gallerist Mary Boone, in an interview last month in her uptown gallery overlooking a corner of Central Park. Before Boone struck out on her own, she first showed Bleckner’s work in 1977 at her loft on Bond Street; she has mounted a Bleckner show every couple of years since 1983.

And Boone is able to do that because, through booms and busts, much like New York (the city with which he has become closely identified), Bleckner just keeps at it. He works. And he re-works.

Indeed, among the six shows—even those that include artwork that was not yet dry during a late January interview in Bleckner’s Chelsea studio—viewers will see paintings with deep roots in the last century, as far back as the 1970s, from several series that brought Bleckner fame—”Dome,” “Stripe,” “Bird,” and “Burn,” as he calls them.

To some, Bleckner may be known less for his work than as a namecheck on an early episode of the television show Sex and The City in which Kim Cattrall’s character sleeps with a guy who offers to show her his newly acquired Bleckner painting. Or from the society and gossip pages where, according to the New York Times’s Michael Kimmelman, Bleckner’s name was mentioned “as often as his friend Bianca Jagger’s.”

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Ross Bleckner in his studio (2011).  Image: Marcus Andersson