Francis Bacon Show: My Thoughts

francis-bacon-gallery-launch_135554455925Francis Bacon’s daring yet disturbing portrayals of friends and lovers and his imaginative interpretations of historical paintings, photographs, and films have long been celebrated. Now the controversial self-taught British artist is the subject of an extensive 100th-year birthday retrospective at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. As I walked around the galleries the other day, I was struck by the grandness of Bacon’s vision. Also its sameness. The show opens with “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion” (pictured), from 1944, a triptych of distorted, repellent figures—defiantly perched on tabletops and a patch of grass—that are all mouths and muscle. Bacon rivals Picasso in the way he represents the body, particularly the face. Yet the late Picasso show now at the Gagosian gallery in New York stayed with me for days. I forgot the Bacons as soon as I hit the street.

Leave a Comment