Ego Leonard comes across like clip art in three dimensions, like some poor cousin of “Unconditional Surrender,” like some nettlesome member of the Pop art family -that clan of colorable repute of the ’60s in rebellion against abstract expressionism’s inwardness. Ultimately, though, it gave us skin-deep Warhol, who was given to repeating images – Brillo boxes, Campbell soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, even the face of Jackie Kennedy in her bloodied pillbox hat after her husband’s assassination – and turned our perception numb. Warhol said it himself in exhibit notes for his first retrospective in Stockholm in 1968:
“If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings…and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”
Ego Leonard strikes me that way – “nothing behind it” – a bad joke that extols the art of shallowness. It’s enough to send this writer who shrinks from the excesses of Baroque art running to it for relief.