The 20 Best Booths at The Armory Show 2019
Casey Lesser, Alina Cohen and Julia Wolkoff
Gallerist Josh Friedman told me that by midday, three institutions (including Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center and the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami) had already purchased the bright, large-scale paintings of young Philadelphia-based artist Jonathan Lyndon Chase. All created since November, these canvases (all 2019) debut alongside airbrush, pastel, and ink-on-board works by Los Angeles–based artist John Altoon, who died in 1969, at age 43. Friedman hopes that booth visitors will consider how two men on different coasts, working five decades apart, broke “certain conventions of how the body needs to look.”
Chase’s practice, like Altoon’s, is rooted in drawing. Though his massive canvases can feature acrylic paint, marker, chalk, pastel, glitter, and spray paint, his own wobbling line makes them feel intimate. Run away with me, for example, features a reclining, androgynous body that’s less a realist portrait than it is a tangle of limbs; cross-hatched yellow lines and green clothing melt into the painting’s background. Behind the figure, Chase lightly rendered an apparent goal post, which creates a sense of depth within the composition. Chase embraces queer love and lust (often among African-American characters) throughout his canvases—in one painting, Bad dream, a man explicitly reaches into another’s shorts. “You feel his touch in everything he does,” said Friedman.