Artist Mary Heilmann Paints Little Boxes

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Courtesy of the New Museum Photo: Mary Heilmann's Neo Noir (1998).

Defiantly riffing on the rigorous abstractions of the fifties and sixties, New York–based painter Mary Heilmann cuts through the genre's occasional academicism with lush colors and a woozily applied impasto that suggest she's having a great, groovy time. In paintings like Neo Noir, hung in her current retrospective at the New Museum, Heilmann evokes both messy life and high art — it's like how Mondrian would have seen the city on a jittery walk home from a jazz club (after a toke too many). "Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone" is on view through January 26.