Jane Kaplowitz by Judith Hudson

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 65 Fall 1998

New York Live Arts presents

Marjani Forte
Nov 15-19


65 Jane Kaplowitz Body

Jane Kaplowitz, taxi driver wall drawing, installation view, 1998, acrylic on wall, 132 x 140¾ inches. Courtesy of Curt Marcus Gallery.

In her recent show of paintings and drawings at Curt Marcus, Jane Kaplowitz found the perfect foil in Travis Bickle, Martin Scorsese’s hero from Taxi Driver. By isolating images from the notoriously cathartic bloodbath climax, she offers us a secular icon which combines the sacrificial bliss of Saint Sebastian with the battle joy of God’s warrior, the archangel Michael.

The disturbing quality of these images is heightened by Kaplowitz’s delicate painting style. In one wall mural, a symmetrical image of Travis Bickle comes at you holding two guns, a mohawk dabbed on his shaved head, paint dripping lovingly down his forehead, with sun-like rays surrounding him. The mouth is rendered in a crude, perfunctory, almost childlike “happy-face” style, giving him a demented yet beatific smile. In another mural he is bathed in transparent washes of red paint, as if he has anointed himself in blood, giving the effect of a purification ritual or baptism. Kaplowitz’s Travis Bickle is a holy killer, canonized through violence.

—Judy Hudson

Sarah Sze by Judith Hudson
63 Sarah Sze 1
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Originally published in

BOMB 65, Fall 1998
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