There's a kind of contemporary painting that examines what it means to be making a contemporary painting. Highly recursive, it mines art history and the visual record for intense, sometimes injurious remixing. Its grandpappy is Gerhard Richter, whose 40 years' worth of paintings were on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York last year: mostly interpretations of photographs, with sometimes subtle, sometimes heavy alterations. (Even Richter's abstractions seem to have gotten their start as mushed-around photographic images; this fooled some smart people into thinking that he worked in a wide variety of modes.) If Richter is this style's granddad, Laura Owens is the precocious big sister. Owens was the subject of a big show at the MoCA Los Angeles earlier this year, proving that she could recombine everything from Chinese painting to faux-naif illustration into enormous paintings -- ten and twelve feet on a side -- that had no impact. (Unfortunately for her, the show ran opposite a Lucian Freud career retrospective that would have pounded a stronger... More >>>