New Criterion
March 10, 2019
On Diderot, Duran, a literary St. Patrick’s Day & more from the world of culture

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When the artist Robert Duran came to New York from San Francisco in the 1960s, he landed square in the downtown painting scene, but never stopped looking east. Travel through India, Nepal, and Tibet influenced his abstract vocabulary, in which glyphs and other squiggly forms speak their own esoteric language. Yet while Duran exhibited in six shows at the famous Bykert Gallery, his work hasn’t been seen in New York since 1977. Now in its first showing of the Duran estate, Karma Gallery presents the artist’s earliest paintings in a dazzling exhibition that is long overdue. With colorful plays of figure and ground, these fresh compositions could have been made today.