Conor Harrington will say the humble thing, that he isn’t a scholar of history, but his unique fascination with the performance of diplomacy and the rituals of compromise and war have made his paintings seem uniquely of-the-moment while rendered in the tradition of figurative oil painting. This new work, titled Watch Your Palace Fall, could symbolically allude to the US, UK, Russia, ISIS, or whomever, but these characters in a ballet-like dance of combat, removing masks to reveal distorted faces in moments of theatrical posturing, captures our current historical moment better than any 24-hour news program could ever begin to describe. For his work to appear on the walls of Pace Gallery in London to the streets of São Paulo and Copenhagen further enshrines Harrington as not only an artist of reverence, but one who continues to push the envelope of what a fine artist with roots in street art can be.
Also featured in the January issue:
—Amber Boardman paints feelings and nearly abstracted portraits of oddballs.
—Director and artist Mike Mills talks with us about his new film 20th Century Women
—Todd Schorr takes us step-by-step through his liquid universe
—Classically trained sculptor Jud Bergeron discusses integrating digital techniques into his practice
—Painter Aron Wiesenfeld captures the stillness of being alone in nature
—Retna set-designs an opera
—Akasha Rabut's photographs of New Orleans
—American Greetings at 110 years old
—3Sixteens's denim details
—Ravi Zupa on the power of storytelling
—We travel to Detroit with curator Jesse Cory
—Street Art meets American football in Miami
—Pepe's journey from the dark side