Book Review: “Academy of Tal R”

Tal R is a legend from Copenhagen whose influence stretches across all ponds. One glance at the catalog, Academy of Tal R, published by Denmark’s lovely Louisiana Museum, shows the warm, cheeky, obsessive nature of the artist’s prolific output. There are rich stories told in the singular simple frame of his line drawings from the ’90s that gave way to eye-popping paintings, effortlessly diving between abstraction and symbology.

Do these paintings remind you of other artists’ work? Sometimes influence creeps far and wide, and the origin doesn’t claim credit. All the feels course through Tal R’s work, with images that evoke tiny gasps and intrigue. The book’s interview with the artist reveals that his first museum show happened not through a studio visit, but by bringing curators to his hoarder apartment full of found objects. His work has a visual dialogue with countless other artists because he navigates mediums and styles in the best, most nimble and messy way. It’s as if his every thought and whim has been materialized through the art, every single thing he’s ever seen and every imagination is fabricated gloriously. You can’t call it hyperbole until you see the book itself and submit your application to the Academy of Tal R. The catalog closes with a two-page spread of his 2017 lifesize sculpture, Horse in Pajamas, not to be outdone by the book’s portrait of the artist with his enormous dog, Fanny. Need I say more? —KF

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art,

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