THE ART WORLD: Rub Out The Word by William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs. Courtesy of Stellan Holm Gallery.

Stellan Holm Gallery
524 W. 24th St.
New York, NY 10011

The cult of personality that still clings to the early counter-culture provocateurs of the 1950s is in full swing at Stellan Holm Gallery, showing the late paintings, shotgun blasts, sketches and ephemera of junkie-beat-novelist hero William S. Burroughs.

There are some works of abstract beauty on display, especially in a few of the dark canvasses and textual paintings, and like everything else that Burroughs touched in the latter part of his life, it’s all swaddled in a blanket of cool.

Of all the pieces, the shotgun paintings–effectively large blocks of wood shot with a 12-gauge–evoke most fully the sense of gallows humor that pervades much of Burroughs’ written work, and they serve as a fitting homage to the mystique that helped to make him an anti-hero to generations.

Rub Out The Word by William S. Burroughs is showing at Stellan Holm Gallery until March 29th.

Jonathan Shieber

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