History will remember Demuth less for social context than as a maker of exquisite watercolors. As for the oil paintings, history will remember them fondly, if with some reservations. “Chimneys and Towers” brings exemplary focus to that smart, forceful and laudable achievement.
“Chimneys and Towers: Charles Demuth’s Late Paintings of Lancaster” is at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue, until April 27.
Painter Gerry Hayes, whose punchy abstractions are at Platform gallery, brings calculation and eccentricity to droll fruition.
Stenciled ribbons of primary color and clarifying runs of white are interlaced with deftly integrated wood grounds. Think Willem de Kooning’s late paintings given muscle by Jean Arp’s biomorphism, whipped into shape by Suprematist rigor, and made to dance with rubbery concision.
Laocoon and Leda (both 2007) evince a painter whose engagement with tradition doesn’t prevent him from cracking wise.
Gerry Hayes (with Scott Malbaurn) at Platform, 529 West 20th Street, until April 5.