In an interview titled “The Antiquarians Dilemma,” the Norwegian artist Christian Messel discusses his frequent use of art-historical references. “I try to make connections,” he says. “For instance, I did a series of portraits from different eras and put them together. The idea was to show how little we and our relationship to power has changed.” Messel’s ink-on-paper drawings depict a range of anachronistic subjects: neoclassical female figures encircle two miniature battling gladiators; a photorealistic train pulls into a crowded theater. The work is by turns delicate and grave, and deceptively simple. —C.J.F.
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