COLUMNS

  • Edward Ruscha’s Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations

    Edward Ruscha, Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations. “400 copies printed in April, 1963, by the Cunningham Press, Alhambra, California.”

    IT IS PERHAPS UNFAIR to write a review of a book which, by now, is probably completely unavailable. But the book is so curious, and so doomed to oblivion that there is an obligation, of sorts, to document its existence, record its hav­ing been here, in the same way, almost, as other pages record and document the ephemeral existence of exhibitions which are mounted, shown, and then broken up forever.

    “Twenty-six Gasoline Stations,” is a book consisting of 26 photographs

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  • Yvon Taillandier’s Creation Miró, 1961

    Yvon Tail­landier, Creation Miró, 1961 (New York: Wittenborn and Company), 1963, illus.

    A VAGUE, POETIC, UNILLUMINATING essay by Yvon Taillandier, repeated three times, in English, French, and German along with some of the worst color photography since “West Side Story.” Some nonsense about using the “golden luminosity” of Majorca’s light results in the ruination of all the photographs; Miró’s work is photographed for the most part on an easel, or a chair, or against a wall, permitting hosts of dis­tractions like venetian blinds, chairs, mats and rugs to crowd into the pic­tures. An altogether

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  • Dictionary of Modern Sculpture

    Dictionary of Modern Sculpture (New York: Tudor), 1963. 311 pages, illustrated.

    BEGINNING WITH AN impossible task, given the daily emergence and disappearance of new sculptors, this handy book nevertheless manages to provide useful information about 412 major contemporary sculptors, including much biographical material of the type that is usually never at hand when one needs it.

    Philip Leider

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  • Peter Selz’s The Work of Jean Dubuffet

    Peter Selz, The Work of Jean Dubuffet (New York: Museum of Modern Art), 1962. Illus., 187 pp.

    THE EXHIBITION IS TAKEN DOWN; the paintings are returned to their owners, or to the artist’s studio. What remains is history, and more and more that history has come to be embodied in “the catalog.” Nowadays, the catalog is often a full-length book, written by some notable critic or curator. The exhibition brings forth the book; the book purports to be the history of the exhibition. If the books represent the paintings to have been something which they were not, how can they, stacked in corners or hanging

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  • Sir John Rothenstein’s British Art Since 1900

    Sir John Rothenstein, British Art Since 1900 (Phaidon), 1962. Illus., 181 pages. 

    THE PICTURE OF BRITISH PAINTING and sculpture is, happily, not nearly so dreary as this book would lead one to believe; one must only keep in mind that almost the entire flock of painters and sculptors who have given vitality to English art in the last decade are completely ignored both in Sir John’s rather stuffy preface and in the deadening series of half-tone photographs following. (One would think that national pride, if nothing else, would encourage the publisher to be more lavish in color plates for the first

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  • Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

    Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Distributed by New York Graph­ic Society, Greenwich, Conn). 96 pages, illustrated.

    Parents who find themselves stupefied by the vapid quality of present-day children’s books will find this selection a joy. Illustrations for each of the fables selected range from 15th-cen­tury Italian woodcuts to drawings by Alexander Calder, and the fables themselves are presented handsomely print­ed in translations also ranging from Caxton to Marianne Moore. J. J. Grand­ville’s 19th-century wood engravings, which have been charming

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  • BOOKS

    Harry Callahan, Photographs (Santa Barbara: El Mochuelo Gallery), 1964. 126 plates.

    THE PHOTOGRAPHS THAT Harry Callahan has chosen to include in the present volume radiate such intense visual so­phistication that one wonders if he is not the epitome of the photographer's photographer, the degree of the view­er's response depending on how deeply he is saturated with the photographic mystique. For Callahan is completely committed; his eyes and hands co­operate to bring us images that are important and individual. From the un­likely amalgam of influences on his work of Ansel Adams, whose straight

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  • Books

    Felix Brunner, A Handbook of Graphic Reproduction Processes (Teufen, Switzerland: Arthur Niggli Ltd.), 1962. 329 pages.

    IF ONE IS TO BUY A PRINT in today’s market with a reasonable assurance that he is not being cheated, he must carry his hand magnifier, and be prepared to understand what he sees through it. Which may involve a reasonably good grasp of details like this:

    In the usual aquatint the unprotected parts of the metal are etched to a uniform degree. This causes an even grey surface in the print. In the hand photogravure technique, the gelatine relief prevents the mordant from biting to
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  • Eduard Trier's Form and Space

    Eduard Trier, Form and Space, (New York: Praeger) 1962. 291 pages, 213 illustrations.

    SCULPTORS REST HELPLESSLY at the mercy of photographers, for, creating objects meant to be seen from a great many viewpoints, they work at complete cross-purposes from the camera, with its single, static view. And, should the camera choose an unflattering view, the other views are not available to redeem the piece. Another danger derives from the drama of shadows and highlights which the photographer can manipulate at will, so that often enough the true work, seen after a photograph of the same object, is

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  • Fred W. McDarrah's “The Artist’s World in Pictures”

    Fred W. McDarrah, The Artist’s World in Pictures (New York: Dutton), 1961, 192 pp.

    SO MUCH HAS THE MILIEU in which contemporary art is created become a part of our understanding of that art, that it is no surprise at all to discover that in a book comprising over three hundred photographs whose exclusive subject matter is “The Artist’s World,” less than a dozen of these photographs actually reproduce works of art. The rest of the book is given over entirely to an attempt to convey something of the mood and flavor of the hectic, feverish world of cold-water lofts, gallery openings, critics,

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  • Books Received: The Best in Arts: Arts Yearbook 6 and The Bitter Years, 1935–41

    The Best in Arts: Arts Yearbook 6, edited by James R. Mellow (New York: Horizon Press), 1962. 168 pp. illus.

    THIS YEAR’S ARTS YEARBOOK takes the form of Mr. Mellow’s selection of articles published in Arts Magazine from the period 1956–1961. Included is Sidney Geist’s fine welcome of “A New Sculptor: Mark Di Suvero,” and a remarkable article on the Suprematist and Constructivist movements in Russia, “Avant-Garde and Revolution,” by K. A. Jelenski, which Arts was keen enough to have translated from the Polish-language “Kultura,” in 1960.

    The best in Arts has always been Hilton Kramer, and the best

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