Tuesday, April 03, 2018

"A peculiarly twentieth-century brand of anxiety and alienation"

I'd never come across American painter George Tooker before Twitter feed 41Strange (the source of many fantastic links of late) pointed me in the direction of this sample of his work published on his death in 2011 by the New York Times.

It's profoundly unsettling stuff that speaks volumes about the malaise and alienation of the workplace and daily life in the city in late capitalism. His figures generally look stressed, nervous and furtive. Government Bureau, one of his best-known and most widely revered works, is typical in its depiction of anonymous functionaries sitting in surveillance and judgement of ordinary people. You sense that Franz Kafka would have approved, and I can see it and other paintings of his as perfect for Godspeed You! Black Emperor album artwork.

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