Alan Moore

  • Mary Beth Edelson

    Mary Beth Edelson’s work at A.I.R. Gallery is avowedly feminist; it’s about fabricating and discovering images that glorify women. Artist as spiritual Prometheus plunges deep into her subconscious to bring back the dripping symbols for the new world. That’s what I gather from the archival quantity of material—including texts both boxed and bound, and large yellow paper collages bestrewn with pencilled quotes, strips of photos, symbological indexes, and larger motifs (mostly circles and wavy lines)—that she’s unloaded for this exhibition. Unlike ’30s Surrealists and ’50s abstractionists concerned

  • Saul Ostrow

    Saul Ostrow’s An Introduction to an Indoctrination (For B. Brecht) is a spare didactic installation with audio tapes, an attempt to embody a moment of political consciousness through a simple series of choices you make about how to approach the work. Coming into the gallery, you get a choice of two doors facing each other across an alcove inset into a temporary wall. There’s a tape playing here too: “You are free. You are free to choose from what is offered.” Ostrow calls it “a cluing device, a comparison between an absolute and a conditional.” I thought it was vestigial since I don’t need to

  • May Stevens

    In 1967, May Stevens painted Prime Time, a tight composition pinned down by the figure of her father seated before a TV set. Arms folded, face screwed up, this closed and stolid posture might indicate the man’s reticence about being portrayed. But the portraitist’s interaction with a subject isn’t the point here. Over the years, Stevens has relentlessly posterized this image, working it through a series of paintings and drawings as Big Daddy, the leftist assassin’s ideal target. She draws symbolic connections—head like bomb, man like bulldog, American flag costume—that’ve been cliches for

  • Arman

    In a crowded performance entitled Conscious Vandalism, the nouveau realiste accumulator Arman busted up two rooms of furniture comprising, he said, a “typical bourgeois apartment.” A decorous announcement in wedding-script type set the tone of pretended gentility. Then Arman, alternately wielding a razor, two axes, and a sledge hammer, proceeded to destroy the mock living room and bedroom constructed along one wall of the gallery. The audience was roused to especially loud cheers for the masterful battering of a liquor cabinet, a TV set, and a Dali print hanging above the bed. After the performance,

  • Susan Heinemann

    The major configuration in Susan Heinemann’s installation is a chevron formed by doubled black footprints made with charcoal and running from the comers of the room to a point somewhere in the center. If the prints signified many people standing abreast, they’d have formed a flying wedge. But it looks more as if the footprints were made by hopping. There’s a series of chicken wire cylinders, starting in one corner of the room and descending in height, each of which encloses a pair of prints. The first is about five feet high, about human stature. The others are folded back like potato sacks,

  • Roman Opalka

    Roman Opalka’s work makes me shudder. This was the second installation I’ve seen of his 1 – ∞ (one to infinity) paintings of white numbers on a gray ground exhibited with an audio-tape of his sonorous counting in Polish. His enterprise is so immediately apparent, and the look of the installation is so funereal, that I was quickly scared out of the gallery. It’s simply macabre, a yeady Kafkaesque fantasy. Opalka makes On Kawara seem like an artist of infinite variety doing work that’s positively rich with allusions to the moment and conditions of its making. At least with those paintings of the

  • Jon Borofsky

    Jon Borofsky’s enterprise is the same but the inverse of Opalka’s. They both count, but for Borofsky it’s not simple continuation, but a containing device for an effusion of drawings, paintings, and small sculptures he makes to explicate his dreams. He marks each with the number he’s reached in counting. This, he told me, situates the work in his time, and also serves as a signature. The stuff in the show seems unselected, not weeded out, almost as if the transit from studio to gallery was direct. It’s like a year in the life of Borofsky. The gallery is cluttered from floor to ceiling with his

  • Paula Longendyke

    Paula Longendyke’s show disturbed me. It was weird and ugly, as if somebody had been given a couple of hours to put together some kind of sculpture using a staple gun and the light construction materials left over from a loft subdivision. One artist said it looked like the culmination of the 112 Gallery’s formal funk esthetic, jerry-built but nonreferential. Still, I liked Longendyke’s white corner, a tall construction she did near the pipes in the back of the gallery. Loosely laid and fractured tiles lay within a white painted square on the floor. Venetian blinds, hunks of plasterboard, and

  • Alan Saret, Kirstein Bates, Gerard Hovagimyan, Scott 
Billingsley, Willoughby Sharp, J.B. Cobb, Scott Johnson, Gianfranco 
Mantegna, Dick Miller, Stefan Eins, Lee Fer, Julia Heyward, Dara Birnbaum, 
Michael McClard, Dan Graham, Robin Win

    For years now downtown artists, particularly sculptors, have been premiering their work outside commercial galleries, be it in public-funded spaces like 112 Greene Street, Artists Space, The Kitchen, and The Clocktower, or in their own or a friend’s loft. (This isn’t the same as the cooperative gallery scene, which has lost vitality and media attention, and is limited to artists with some cash.) This season, Stefan Eins opened his studio, the 3 Mercer Street Store, for nine modest shows. At the same time, a group of artists brought together by Gerard Hovagimyan, Scott Billingsley, and Lee Fer,

  • Peter Plagens

    A lot of the articles Peter Plagens has written for this magazine wind up with affirmations of painting, huzzahs thrown in the face of other art-making modes. After a spell in the New York “pressure cooker,” for example, he’s back home in California slogging pigment. “Confronted with that—the painting on the wall—how can you possibly care about anything else?” Indeed. Well, there’s all that picaresque art criticism, powered by his angst as a painter, which he surely must care to write. And his book, Sunshine Muse, that launches itself well enough as an anecdotal history, but settles sadly into

  • Llyn Foulkes

    It seems that California painter Llyn Folks planned his show here to coincide with the Max Ernst retrospective. Not only are the Surrealist’s decalcomania paintings and figure in a landscape collages Foulkes’s main models, but the antique photographs and wooden frames he uses in his paintings evoke the ’20s when Ernst made his works. Foulkes has quite successfully flattened his oeuvre through this insistent nostalgia. If his paintings wish they’d been there and then, it’s hard for them to be here and now. I guess the show’s a kind of hommage à but this isn’t Paris.

    In his portraits, Foulkes paints

  • Andrew Ginzel

    Andrew Ginzel (selected for Artists Space by Red Grooms) also alludes to the broad tradition of Dada collage. He uses images of men in bowler hats, gravu red machine parts, and schematic heads like phrenologist's diagrams in his constructions. These elements are held in suspension by bits of string, and mounted so that they stick up from chunks of wooden logs. These little heraldic arrangements look like models for pageant decor.

    I don't like the idea that you should be careful to make historical allusions if you're not going to title your sculpture. Ginzel's vocabulary of images is wider when

  • Michael Howard

    Four big paintings in Michael Howard's show are modeled on illustrations for hunting tales in magazines. These scenes of confrontation between armed hunters with dogs and wild bears gave Howard the format for painterly demonstrations. The colors on these large two-panel canvases—mainly brown, black, blue, green and red—form a palette as simple as a woodsman's plaid. Howard doesn't reproduce his magazine models. He brushes his pigment on freely, brusquely indicating the figures of man and beast and making the areas between them into partly independent spiky shapes. Maybe Howard doesn't care what

  • Loren Madsen

    First I'll carp about the letter from Loren Madsen to The Museum of Modern Art management tacked on the wall for the Californian's “Projects” series show. This document might make us privy to the sculptor's thinking about the major piece here, a big leaning wall of bricks restrained from collapse by hundreds of tiny steel wires. Instead, the detailed exposition of how the thing should be installed ends up insisting on its nature as a feat of engineering. The museum translated Madsen's written cautions about people touching the wires into ropes and stanchions, so that the piece is cloistered in

  • Alan Sonfist

    “I became a tiger waiting” Alan Sonfist writes in the text hung up with two series of color photos in a gallery antechamber labeled “The Animal Room.” Naked in the grass, Sonfist snads at the approaching photographer. Unlike the usual photographer/subject relationship, the art here resides with the subject, the man playing tiger, just as heroism might be said to reside not with the hunter but with the animal who gets killed. A couple of philosopher’s anecdotes I first heard paraphrased around art-world dinner tables might enlarge aspects of these photos. One is Wittgenstein’s: if the lion could

  • Rockne Krebs

    The piece that impressed me most (aside from a sedate light bulb projection from Ted Victoria’s often exhibited series) was Washington D.C. artist Rockne Krebs’s installation with argon laser and mirrors. The twinkling blue green beam high overhead near the ceiling spans two rooms in the gallery. Directed from a hidden projector, the beam jumps a corner in the back room, first hitting and diffusing around a rectangular mirror, the shape of which is then reflected onto an adjacent triangular mirror. This triangle is finally cast onto an apple painted on the wall near the source of the beam. Why

  • Scott Billingsley

    Scott Billingsly’s piece Induction also needs to be plugged in. After a long walk to the Whitney downtown workroom and gallery in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, I was standing in front of this plasterboard box the size of a shower stall. I waited for a wire coming out of it to be hooked up to a corroded old transformer in a corner of the room. This clicked on. Noiseless; no hum. A coil inside, I was told, had been magnetized. I climbed up the ladder on one side of the box. This was thin, like the ladders running up water storage tanks are thin in proportion to the tank. Descending inside

  • Jeffrey Lew

    Jeffrey Lew’s piece Drawerings is a wooden chest of specimen drawers containing slabs of glass. Most any sculpture can look like some kind of furniture. It’s an easy gibe. But for many artists the analogy is a way back into form/function problems, articulated as a conundrum in which the artwork is put forward as a pun or witty closure. Drawerings is set far back from the gallery door between the row of columns that divide the space, and it’s lit from above by a spotlight. You have to pull the drawers out to see the scratched and colored slabs of glass. The piece is a set for the execution—construed

  • Bruce Nauman

    Bruce Nauman’s Cones/Cojones, an installation of masking tape laid on the floor in concentric circles, is similarly involved with performance implications. In Lew’s piece the performance collapses to reinforce reflection on the sculptural object, whereas Nauman’s is an experientially underscored metaphor for expansion. The work itself is etherealized, the spectator/performer is consolidated, rather like a statue in a courtyard. Since it doesn’t aggrandize itself as an object, Cones/Cojones may be a more generous work than Lew’s—but if that is to be so, it requires a more openhearted use.

    Masking

  • Elizabeth Murray

    Robert Pincus-Witten once called Cy Twombly’s figuration “hand-hating,” and there is something of that in Elizabeth Murray’s painting also.

    It’s a gaucherie evident in the taut, awkward and aborted lines of paintings like Will and Flamingo that puts across an idea of labor, of the obsessive and nearly agonistic effort that painting entails for Murray. The tiny geometrical figures within larger areas of color are surrounded by many tiny scrapings. On one level, this is about leaving literal traces of gesture on a fictive surface. But it’s also as if the pigment had been shaped by rats who have