the first American survey of Baj’s early paintings since his exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in 1971."
The show in the gallery's three floors features the landscapes, generals, 'heroines,' and furniture phases of Baj's work of the years' preceding Breton's '63 essay:
'It is, indeed, the child within each one of us which is wounded the most atrociously these days. The fact that today it is not simply the child's life but the child's essential nature which is threatened is a monstrous scandal, and one that has affected Baj so deeply that he has felt obliged to launch a frontal attack..
'The stimulus which endows Baj's work with its extraordinary vitality owes is vigor to the fact that he is in control, in perfect harmony with the implicit contradictions, of a device set to sound an alarm and yet, at the same time, to spread joy..
'With regard to fire, he suggests that it is composed of "an infinity of tiny invisible bodies," some of which are round and some pyramidal, which explains why "the flame behaves differently, according to the type and sign of the angles made between the pyramid and the sphere".. As for sight, it "occurs when the outer coats of the eye, which have openings in them similar to those in glass, send out the fire-dust known as sight-rays and is stopped by some opaque matter which makes it rebound back to the home."..
'A quite recent period in Baj's work has singled out from this brutish regiment several incarnations of the 'general is full dress uniform'.. a mountain of importance about capable of giving birth to an intellectual mouse, nevertheless constitutes a menacing survival, particularly from the moment when he sets himself up as being an expert on 'psychological warfare' and in this capacity feeds his tiny rodent on Clausewitz and Mae Tse Tung.
'The general's female companion obviously presents a rather subtler moving target.. the attributes of femininity grant a partial immunity to this heroine of the knockabout farce.'