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Wrestler Studies by Carroll Dunham

I’ve been looking at Carroll Dunham’s work since the 80s, and I admire it enormously. I’ve come to know him personally over the last ten years or so, and talking with him about his work, life, art—anything—is enlivening. I always feel happy to be alive after our conversations. That may be a strange thing to say in an introduction to an artist, but it’s true.

Dunham is sincerely thoughtful. He is always thinking. He has ideas, is a wry character, and is full of surprises. He also likes surprise. If I were a pitcher and he the batter, he wouldn’t be upset if I threw a screwball. A look would come over his face (he’s not holding a bat) that signals he was thinking it over and enjoying the puzzle. He doesn’t have a problem with that. What I mean is spontaneity, and he has it. Being spontaneous is about following chances: vitality. I feel it in his paintings and drawings. In the wrestling drawings in this portfolio of 16 works, for instance, they flow and charge, there’s immediacy to them....

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