James Harithas, a friend of the late Bluhm and curator of the show, says most viewers see some combination of sex and spirituality in the paintings -- interpretations the artist didn’t confirm or deny. “He was smart and quiet and wanted the work to speak for itself,” says Harithas.
During World War II, Bluhm flew 44 missions in a B-26 Marauder, the most shot-at plane in the Air Force’s stable. “He was definitely scarred,” says Harithas. “He wanted the kind of outlet abstract expressionism offered.” Bluhm fell into the “action painting” movement of Jackson Pollock, showing his hulking canvases of colorful smears in galleries across the globe. The style of the paintings on view at the Station was cemented in the late ’80s. – Nick Keppler
For more on Bluhm’s mixing of flesh and soul, check out our Night & Day® section, which has some other unlikely blends -- including family photos with a ghostly aesthetic, an Asian comedian with a Southern accent (“to a lot of people, that right there is funny,” he says) and an opera production outfitted by the “Princess of Punk."