By NOAH BECKER July, 2023
(Quotes and images from David Aaron Greenberg for this article were sourced from an interview with Alexandra Kosloski at thetrops.com)
The high/low-production-values of David Aaron Greenberg's paintings disidentify race - unmooring social and political assumptions. Greenberg has an interest in celebrities and similar in nature to my life experience, and early on, had direct interactions with legendary people in film, TV, music and cinema. "I was around a lot of painters and saw their practice and I knew these things intellectually that, God, it’s just like a day to day job. You got to wake up paint until you’re done and then you go home. Yeah. Like a job,"  Greenberg mused.
Greenberg befriended central beat poet Allen Ginsberg and within the circle of admiring Ginsberg artists, musicians and friends, Greenberg found focus. This influence is heard in Greenberg’s dialogue when speaking about his life and evidenced in his art and his original music. Greenberg says, "It took me my whole life to take myself seriously as a painter. I never did, unfortunately. Or not unfortunately, it was what it was." 
Reconsidering ideological and visual givens is a more difficult task than people assume. Greenberg directly tackles this task and reifies and mythifies his subjects, paying homage to the people in his portraits. His process of sifting-down traditional identity and focusing on ethnic specificity, silences pre-conceived notions of what making figurative art should be about.
Greenberg’s intellectual mode of inquiry hinges upon the personal. "I include everybody. All inclusive. I’m not exclusive. I cheat on myself. I’m in an open relationship with myself,"  Greenberg says. His veracity for maintaining friendships with people like The Clash’s Joe Strummer, seductively moves Strummer away from rock star stereotypes via Greenberg's pen and brush. The physiognomy of Greenberg's rendering of Strummer’s face and body, ruptures our preconceptions of what being a rock god means.
Greenberg’s creative continuousness hovers around his love of certain colors. Emerald greens and deep blues create spaces in which the paintings can wander and play, traversing the lexicon of fauvism. Irreducible, stark and enigmatic, the monoliths of celebrity melt into Greenberg’s painterly world in a serial way. Unplugging pretense, we experience the person behind the legend - that is the magic feat of Greenberg's art. This approach also pulverizes the confrontational aspect of humans on canvas, especially the glaring eyes that usually haunt viewers, leaving them totally frightened or mesmerized by someone’s visage in paint. The explosiveness occurs when viewers reach the zenith of recognition - a moment of confontation - the ecstatic detonation of the senses.
What I’m saying is that Greenberg masterfully avoids that simple trap of painting images of glaring faces. Through his friendships with his sitters - things manifest away from basic glaring visages. Greenberg rarely strays from the use of vivid colors painted around and through his paintings. This coloristic aspect grounds the celebrity situation with the deeply personal. "I felt connected to Walt Whitman in some way, and that brought up feelings of myself, my identity, my sexuality, my very existence, my everything, the universe, the cosmos. As he would say, "'Do I contradict myself? Very well. I am vast, I contain multitudes.'"  WM
    Kosloski, Alexandra, thetrops.com - https://thetrops.com/an-interview-with-david-aaron-greenberg-part-1
Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023.
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