BRUNSWICK, Maine — The “most comprehensive display” of the work of Denmark’s Per Kirkeby in the United States to date is not as comprehensive as one might have liked. But in bringing 26 paintings and 12 bronze sculptures by Kirkeby to the Northeast, Bowdoin College Museum of Art has done fans of this intriguing artist, revered especially by painters, a great service.
Kirkeby, 74, has been a somewhat elusive figure in European painting since the 1960s. Having befriended its sickly but charismatic leader, George Maciunas, he was for a time associated with the Fluxus movement. Fluxus artists — Yoko Ono was one of them — used conceptual japes to stir up settled conventions governing the relationship between art and life.