A Look Inside Peter Saul's Major Survey at the New Museum in NYC
On view from now until May 31.
By Gabrielle Leung
After announcing that it would launch a major survey of seminal artist Peter Saul’s work in New York last year, the New Museum is now holding “Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment,” bringing together over 60 paintings from across Saul’s career. The exhibition showcases the artist’s ability to shed light on serious socio-political issues through his bold paintings that draw from pop art and surrealist inspirations.
Saul’s earlier works in the ’60s incorporated text, recognizable characters and consumer products to depict avarice and violence in America. In response to the Vietnam War, he created some of his most shocking paintings that captured the war’s brutality, racism and destruction. Continuing to challenge American history, Saul’s work ranges from paintings of infamous criminals and archetypes of cowboys and businessmen to disdainful portraits of presidents and reimagined “triumphant” scenes from America’s past.
Reflecting the surrealist landscapes of Salvador Dalí and the political caricatures of artists such as Francisco Goya and William Hogarth, Saul’s brightly colored paintings examine the socio-political fabric of today’s society in a way that is both humorous and foreboding. “Crime and Punishment” examines Saul’s blend of surrealist aesthetics, history painting and vernacular illustration that depicts the “real-life shock and horror of current events.”