COLUMNS

  • Books

    “The Academy,”Art News Annual #XXXIII

    The Academy, Art News Annual #XXXIII, ed. Thomas Hess & John Ashbery (Macmillan, N.Y. 1967), 176 pages, illustrations.

    Failed art, as prevalent as forgettable conversation, rarely provides a critical issue. We are success oriented, not inclined to devote much attention to the downbeat and the also-rans. But, (leaving aside simple deficiency of talent), the latter often fall into commingled categories—the sentimental, the rhetorical, and the academic—which are quite worth studying as phenomena that may shift their perimeters at any moment. For every gesture or sensibility in art is now shadowed

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  • Books

    Paul Strand, The Mexican Portfolio, Paul Caponigro, and Photography in the Twentieth Century

    Paul Strand, The Mexican Portfolio (Da Capo Press For Aperture, Inc.), 20 hand-pulled gravure plates, 4-page text in portfolio with slipcase, 12 1/2” X 16”, edition of 1000 numbered and signed copies.

    Paul Strand’s Mexican Portfolio, an incredibly beautiful group of photographs taken during the early thirties, was issued in 1940 in a limited subscription (250 copies) edition. The volume has been unavailable in any form since that time. This year, Aperture, Inc., publisher of the quarterly of photography, has produced a new signed edition of 1000 copies for the Da Capo press. The portfolio includes

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  • Books

    Store Days

    Store Days By Claes Oldenburg. Something Else Press, Illus., Color, 152 Pages, 1967.

    The writings of Claes Oldenburg printed in Store Days consist of fragments, notes, philosophical observations, and scripts, dating from the Store of 1961 and the Ray Gun Theater of 1962. As he sketches his ideas, Oldenburg does not outline a coherent theory so much as he suggests an attitude toward theory. He thinks abstractly: “I operate, idea-wise, far above the ground,” but he counters the abstractions with an earthy factualness: “I have a compulsion . . . to relate myself to what is on the ground” (62). An

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  • Film

    How I Won the War

    How I Won the War, a neither admirable nor contemptible altruism about the villains who coin money making war films, has enough material to stock several war films. Basically, it’s the war story of the fictitious 3rd Troop, 4th Musketeers. Among its luminous personnel are a sweating coward digging himself into holes and hiding under pots and pans; a working-class mocker in steel rims played by the Beatles’ John Lennon; a mad clown who prates Falstaffian brain-dulling lingo; and two zombies—a pink and a green man returned from the dead.

    The exploits of the boy leader, Michael Crawford, and his

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  • Film

    The Train, Bonnie and Clyde, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Point Blank

    The kooky thing about film acting is its uncontrolled, spilling over quality. The meat of any movie performance is in the suggestive material that circles the edge of a role: quirks of physiognomy, private thoughts of the actor about himself, misalliances where the body isn’t delineating the role, but is running on a tangent to it.

    Burt Lancaster’s stationmaster in The Train—a semi-reluctant fighter in the Resistance stationed in Nazi-occupied France—is an interesting performance because it has almost no center. Seven eighths of his time is spent occupied at work tasks, scrambling around the

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  • Film

    Le Départ, Made in U.S.A., Bariera, Mickey One, Puss & Kram, Darling

    If any symbolical figure appeared at the film festival in New York, it was the emergence of the Flat Man, a central character structured like a vapor, a two dimensional hat salesman, telephone operator, or decrepit dirt farmer who doesn’t appear to come from any relevant Past, and after aimless reels of time, there is no feeling that any Future is in sight.

    The only one who could be remembered with any clarity, with any sense of physical impact coming from the screen, was a sportscar fanatic, a late adolescent (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who gives shampoos and delivers wigs throughout Le Départ. With

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  • Books

    Photographers on Photography

    Photographers on Photography, edited by Nathan Lyons (Prentice Hall [in collaboration with George Eastman House]), 256 pages, illustrated.

    MR. LYONS HAS FASHIONED HIS BOOK in three parts: complete texts of the photographers’ articles; a carefully researched section of biographical notes and bibliographies; and his own comment, which consists solely of selected reproductions from the writers’ photographs.

    These three sections are not independent; they interact to provide statement, context, demonstration and their permutations, the whole forming a symposium, an extremely successful example of that

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  • Books

    BOOKS RECEIVED

    Edward Ruscha, Every Building on the Sunset Strip (Privately Printed, Los Angeles), 27' long (when unfolded), boxed.

    TWENTY-SIX GASOLINE STATIONS (see Artforum, v. II #3, pg. 57) turns out to have been the first of a series of “little books” privately produced by Los Angeles artist Edward Ruscha. It was followed by Various Small Fires and Milk (photographs of various small fires and a glass of milk at the end), Some Los Angeles Apartments (photos of some Los Angeles apartment buildings) and now, Every Building on the Sunset Strip (photographs of every building on the Sunset Strip). As in the

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  • Film

    Camp, Andy Warhol

    Andy Warhol began as a film-maker by making extremely long films in which nothing, or almost nothing, happened. “Sleep” and “Empire” managed to astonish people by their overweening length and their insistent silence. Warhol reduced the cinema to its simplest possible manifestation—a single image that moved. This was also its first manifestation historically: Muybridge’s trotting horse, Dickson’s sneezing man, Lumiere’s decelerating train. But where these primitive films lasted only a few minutes Warhol’s first film “Sleep” lasted eight hours in its original version. By this radical elongation

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  • Books

    Mannerism by Arnold Hauser

    Arnold Hauser, Mannerism (Knopf, New York), 1965. Two volumes.

    Naturalness—what poverty of spirit.

    Clarity—what thoughtlessness.

    The author of these lines is not Oscar Wilde or Huysmans but Gongora, one of the extreme exponents of the taste for artificiality in the period to which Arnold Hauser’s new book is devoted. Its title is nothing less than “Mannerism: the Crisis of the Renaissance and the Origin of Modern Art.” It is a matter of record that for Mr. Hauser art is an expression of ideology and that his approach to it is sociological. In “The Social History of Art” he applied these views to

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  • Books

    The Widening Stream. Poems by Richard Mack, photographs by Wynn Bullock.

    The Widening Stream, poems by Richard Mack, photographs by Wynn Bullock (Peregrin Publications, Monterey, California), 1965. 2000 copies printed.

    Because Wynn Bullock has worked in the same geographical region and often in the same forms, his work has too often been eclipsed by the work of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Both Adams and Weston are more prolific photographers, and Bullock’s carefully considered seeing can in no way compete with Adams’ flamboyant grandeur or Weston’s flamboyant sensuality. Bullock’s work has been seen occasionally in group shows in the Bay Area—perhaps he is best

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  • Architecture

    Architecture

    From December, 1964 to July, 1965, the University of California at Berkeley conducted a competition to select an architect for the proposed University Arts Center, a museum complex to function under the directorship of Dr. Peter Selz. The jury for the competition consisted of three architects: Lawrence B. Anderson, Gardner A. Dailey and Ralph Rapson.

    The jury’s choice lighted on the design submitted by Mario Ciampi, of San Francisco. Careful examination of the final entries leaves little doubt that the Ciampi entry was, by all odds, the best, and that the jury was wise in selecting it. The

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