Drawings for Crazy Horse

Originally published January 26, 2010 by CityArts

Crazy Horse Among Falling Stars by Tony FitzpatrickI have long been a fan of Tony Fitzpatrick’s eccentric and obsessive etchings. In the past he has turned his attention and finely-tuned hand to obsess on birds, bugs, hobo alphabets and the poetry of cities. In recent years he has moved increasingly into a new visual and conceptual universe, using collage to channel his obsessions into the visible world.

Fitzpatrick’s most recent show, at Pierogi Gallery in Williamsburg, is an interesting musing on the life of Crazy Horse. A cacophony of collaged images, many of which seem more autobiographical than biographical, crowd into the small drawings. The largest is roughly 10-by-7 inches, yet all are bursting with narrative, color and image. They are remarkable, the combination of size and density of color and image drawing the viewer into Fitzpatrick’s universe. The use of collaged materials has changed the artist’s palette. Though the work is both beautiful and seductive, I have to confess a longing for a greater presence of his “hand.” One of the best things about Fitzpatrick’s earlier prints were his extraordinary bold, funny and desperate hand-drawn lines.

Fitzpatrick is an artist who never sits still, and though I did not swoon over this body of work as I have in the past, the collages are thoughtful, worthy and wonderfully nuts. It is very telling that in the press release for this show Fitzpatrick readily acknowledges little knowledge of American Indian history or life and proclaims little kinship with the subject. But what fascinates the artist about Crazy Horse reveals much about Fitzpatrick; it is Crazy Horse’s unease in the world. Fitzpatrick describes him as a “seeker,” a man of both courage and “otherworldliness,” both an American iconoclast and an enigma. A portrait of the artist as a young Indian?

Through Feb. 7. Pierogi, 177 N. 9th St. (betw. Bedford & Driggs Aves.), Brooklyn, 718-599-2144.

This entry was posted in Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.