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THE ART GALLERIES

Downtown

December 20, 1985|SUZANNE MUCHNIC

Wear your sunglasses when you go to see Andy Warhol's show of "Reigning Queens." The day-glo pinks and vivid primaries of his silk-screen prints are so strong, they make your eyes hurt. The better to make his familiar point about the vapidity of modern life and the way we turn celebrities into mass-produced images, ever-present but no more substantive than the paper they're printed on.

No news here from Warhol, except that his current subjects have higher pedigrees than the Marilyns and Jackies that he previously has stamped out in series. The queens he has chosen this time around are Beatrix of the Netherlands, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Margrethe of Denmark and Ntombi Twala of Swaziland.

Each work in the 19-piece show is an individual portrait, but once you've seen one image of a particular regal lady, you've seen them all. What remains is a variety of decorative treatments and color schemes--all achieved in flat, posteresque hues, electric line and dot-pattern shading. As the colors build up in layers, nothing is revealed beyond the set image of an elegant public figure. Three works painted in acrylic on canvas may as well be prints, for they look every bit as reproduced as the silk screens. But then that's part of the message here. Life and art are nothing more than superficialities with glamorous surfaces. (Cirrus, 542 S. Alameda St., to Feb. 8.)

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