The novelist and art critic Katie Kitamura suggested we meet at David Zwirner gallery on 19th Street. She wanted to catch a show by Rose Wylie, an 86-year-old British artist who creates massive paintings inspired by pilgrims, Quentin Tarantino films, chocolate cookies, World War II, and other phenomena. A festively colored Baggu tote dangling from her wrist, Kitamura stood before a canvas that showed a giant crablike figure in a green sea. Wylie has anointed an art star late in life, decades after she’d had children. “A lot of artists, their work changes when they get picked up by galleries and attain a level of commercial success,” Kitamura observed. Not this one, who still paints whatever she wants on unprimed canvases with blobs and strings trailing at the edges; 11 out of the 11 paintings at Zwirner had cat hairs stuck to the surface. “I love that she’s unfazed,” Kitamura said.
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