“Stephen Lack: The Crime of Your Life” (Gracie Mansion Gallery, 337 East 10th Street, at Avenue B): Stephen Lack’s recent paintings are based on media images of sex and violence. Paint and color are used in a raw and splashy manner to suggest the impact of scenes with pulp titles such as “Get in the Car, Old Man” and “Your Parents Get the News That You Are Dead.”
What distinguishes these paintings from many other works that pretend to confront the effects and implications of popular and mass-media culture is that they are honest. Mr. Lack’s work is neither moralizing or ambivalent. Violence is not a prime-time soap opera for him. No one seeing these paintings will wait eagerly for the next installment.
In “Party Girl," a naked woman is painted across the canvas. Over her head, the artist has taped a piece of brown paper. Near the top of her legs, the canvass has been cut off so that all we see is her torso and arms. Her left arm is pulled upward, flattened just enough to abstract the entire figure. The painting unleashes the kinds of voyeuristic, sensational responses pop and media culture feeds on, then stops them. (Through Dec. 31.)