Caravaggio meets de Kooning in the recent paintings of Tibor Csernus, and the results are curious, engaging, brilliant, incoherent, banal. Csernus, who’s in his mid-sixties, is better known in Paris (where he moved from his native Hungary in 1964) than he is in New York, but he has had a following here at least since the mid-Eighties, when Joe Shannon put him in his “Representation Abroad” show at the Hirshhorn and the painter Jack Beal published an open letter to Csernus in

Arts Magazine

. The paintings that Csernus exhibited in the Eighties were existentialized Caravaggio: the dramatically gloomy settings were the whole story. Csernus’s nudes, spotlit in the deep black nowhere, were downcast nobodies doing nothing much. In the paintings from the past couple of years that Csernus exhibited at Steibel Modern in March and April the palette has lightened up, the brushwork has loosened up, and the compositions...

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