Joe Fig

Johanna Fateman, The New Yorker, September 15, 2020

There’s something melancholic about Fig’s mid-distance perspective; we stand with him at a remove from both the viewers and the art. The show’s title, “Contemplation,” refers to the meditative appreciation of art but also to the expressive postures and the diverse backs of people’s heads that tend to partially block the works they regard. A half-dozen rapt visitors, standing before a trio of Max Beckmann self-portraits at the Met, are a tender reminder that people-watching can be every bit as fascinating as looking at paintings.