April Kingsley

  • “Labyrinths”

    Labyrinths have, throughout history, been associated with ritual murder and ritual sex. The Cretan Minotaur devoured Greek youths, Egyptian kings were often buried, and Rosamond met her death while trysting with the King of England, all these in a labyrinth. Currently we encounter such forms in amusement-park mirrored rooms and horror houses,and are aware of their use as sites for laboratory psychologists to experiment with rats. Why, then, do they interest cool, contemporary Conceptual and Minimal artists? The fact that they do, and the reasons why they do, challenge previous critical attitudes

  • Salvatore Romano

    Nonfigurative sculpture usually refers either to architecture or to nature. Post-Minimal sculpture, for example, has largely been concerned with making a return to nature (random principles of distribution; accidental, gestural structuring; loose, organic, unmanufactured looking materials, etc.) in reaction to the rigorous architecturally oriented Minimal work of the mid-’60s. One of the problems Minimal sculpture often failed to solve involved its competition with architecture when located in an exterior urban setting. As a stand-in for architecture, it functioned to maximum effect when it

  • Don Cole, Richard tum Suden

    In the current period of post-Minimal impurity, a tendency to overdo is beginning to emerge that may undermine recent gains in pictorial complexity. There was considerable evidence to this effect on the walls of the Whitney Museum during the Biennial where overly detailed and redundant paintings seemed to predominate. Much the same must be said for the recent show of paintings by Don Cole and Richard Tum Suden at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

    What possessed gallery or artists to mount a joint exhibition of two such similar painters is beyond my comprehension. Both artists use a wide variety of

  • Ed Ruscha

    Charles Sheeler, who was a photographer as well as a painter, is often hailed as the father of recent developments in photo-Realism. His true son and heir may be Ed Ruscha, a painter, draftsman, and photographer living in Los Angeles. One can’t help feeling their similarities in front of Ruscha’s 14 recent drawings of stained sheets of paper. Precisely toned in gunpowder, single or stacked, their sharp, clean linearity, lucid light, and distinct shadows recall Sheeler’s watercolors of sunlit factory walls. Their metallic silvery tonalities also conjure up his stark light contrasts.

    Whereas Ruscha

  • Ray Parker

    Ray Parker, like Al Held, Ellsworth Kelly, Sam Francis, Grace Hartigan, Paul Jenkins, Joan Mitchell, Jack Youngerman, and Kenneth Noland, belongs to the second generation of “New American Painting.” His stylistic brother in this group is Jack Youngerman, with whom he is often linked. They seceded together from the rest of their generation, sharing a reverence for Matisse, especially his late collages, that encouraged them to get close to Matisse’s style. In so doing they separated themselves from the Constructivist orientation in current American painting.

    In the late ’50s and early ’60s, Parker’s

  • Donald Judd

    Don Judd’s two new plywood multiunit works, one cubic, the other rhomboid, are among his largest to date. The taller of the two is 6’5“ high, larger than most people, and as a result, the new work represents a major jump in his internal scale and volumetricity. His usual pattern with floor or wall pieces (that were not stacked or ”Stacks") was to establish their height below or congruent with the average person’s line of sight. This prevented the objects from looking flat against their ground while it stressed their humanness and underplayed their quasi-architectural role.

    One of the major

  • Ernest Briggs and Edward Dugmore

    Ernest Briggs, born 1923, Edward Dugmore, born 1915, and Michael Goldberg, born 1924, are members of the second generation of Abstract Expressionism. They all flourished during the ’50s, working out of the pioneering efforts of the first generation of American art pioneers. Briggs and Dugmore were influenced by Clyfford Still, Goldberg by Willem de Kooning. Briggs studied with Still at the California School of Fine Arts and was a close follower of his work. Though his paintings in The Museum of Modern Art’s “12 Americans” show in 1956 have a powerful diagonal thrust and a fractured New York kind

  • Michael Goldberg

    Michael Goldberg’s linear gestures no longer register with Abstract Expressionist emotional intensity. He was a close de Kooning follower in the ’50s, like Milton Resnick but not so consciously or so effectively. The counterinfluence of his teacher Hans Hofmann probably did a great deal to stabilize Goldberg’s imagery. He has undergone the most stylistic change of the three artists. In this year’s show at Paley and Lowe he has moved into opulent vertical configurations in gold and dark green which have a self-consciously screenlike appearance. They are oddly reminiscent of turn-of-the-century

  • Harry Kramer

    Harry Kramer is another. His show at 55 Mercer Street of very large black-and-white geometrical paintings was dedicated to Izaak Walton, who wrote a great deal about fishing, because Kramer is an inveterate angler himself. The paintings (full of angles) are wittily titled with lines about fishing. Kramer has been painting Neoplastically during much of the ’60s, consciously trying to invest his former Kline-like imagery with the structural inevitability of a Mondrian. He alternates between black-and-white and color paintings, but for the past few years he has been working primarily in black-and-white.

  • “Women Choose Women”

    With Women in the Arts, The New York Cultural Center published a catalogue, Women Choose Women, essay by Lucy Lippard, 126 pages, 109 black-and-white illustrations.

    “WOMEN CHOOSE WOMEN” AT The New York Cultural Center is a pioneering enterprise with repercussions for the entire art-institutional structure. It is the first example of a large-scale exhibition held in a major art museum and organized entirely by the members of a minority group within the art community. We have often heard in the past few years, since women artists have been forming politically active groups, that hundreds of talented

  • Ronald Bladen

    Ronald Bladen occupies a sculptural position that is exactly opposite to that of Louise Nevelson. His work is holistic, fully threedimensional, and clean of surface. But the unbroken black skins of his pieces hide an Expressionist heart that his resolutely Minimal stance rarely permits us to see. His recent show of plywood prototypes and drawings, however, exposed this interior world in a small model for Coltrane, 1969, which bristled with aggressive nails and splinters of roughly cut plywood. Looking for all the world like a Piranesi prison, it is a maze of engineering complexity so dense it

  • Thomas Bang

    Thomas Bang’s repertory of small, floor-bound plaster block and wire coil sculptures has been augmented this year. The new works, also small in scale, are six wall pieces in wire and black rubber. They play similar kinds of competition, connection, and counting games with the viewer, but stress the flexibility of their materials and coloristically incorporate the whiteness of the wall in a pictorial way as well. Bang’s work explores interesting nonfigurative, nonarchitectural, and sculptural ideas. One is grateful for the lack of histrionics.

    ––April Kingsley