If Neo-Expressionists had any historical conscience they probably should have paid as much attention to Max Beckmann as the Abstract Expressionists paid to Picasso. As it stands, very few artists have even acknowledged that Beckmann is there to be dealt with in a revival of German Expressionist sensibility.
It is probably to the credit of Patrick Morrison that he has at least come to grips with Beckmann. A small show of paintings by the Irish-born L.A. artist finds him grasping much of Beckmann's bold manner and some of his stylishness in a painting like "At Mortons" which shows some trendy diners beneath what could be a Francis Bacon painting.
Morrison seem to like to evoke heavy-duty Expressionists without showing much in common with them. He captures Beckmann's glamour but none of his perversity or his intellectual and moral density. A wonderful Morrison interior with a nude on a moonlit night suggests, along with much else, that Morrison's sensibility is closer to that of a French intimist like Bonnard or Vuillard--gentle, witty and hedonistic. Morrison's a gifted guy. How he puts it together so we don't spend all our time around him thinking of other artists remains to be seen. (Gallery 454, 454 N. Robertson Blvd., to Nov. 6.)