A Visit To / A Visit From / The Island1983 by Eric Fischl

We are presented with a diptych of two beach scenes: one set on a sunny day off the coast of a posh resort with white people sunbathing and engaging in leisure activities; the other set in a storm with dark-skinned people—possibly Haitian refugees fleeing to Florida, in the midst of a crisis involving a seemingly hopeless rescue. (Critic and curator Robert Storr makes this interpretation in “Desperate Pleasures.” Art in America, November, 1984). Its message is stark and in-your-face: the white people are completely oblivious to the harsh reality experienced by non-whites in these tropical island paradises.

There’s a danger here, though, for the artist in that, if that was all the work had to say, it might come across as overly didactic, or just racist. However, what makes the painting particularly powerful for me is Fischl’s attention to the faces of the two central figures dressed in white. Both are, in their own ways...
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Imported from: api.whitney.org
Media: oil on canvas
Dimensions (h/w/d): 84 168 (213 427)
Location: Whitney Museum of American Art , New York