April Kingsley

  • Adolph Gottlieb

    Adolph Gottlieb’s first one-man show in New York since 1967 rounds out the series we’ve seen this fall of new paintings by major Abstract Expressionists. Despite his recent serious illness his familiar images—the blasts or burst and the imaginary landscape—look stronger than they have in many years. He has even broken with his expected vertical format to create a huge horizontal triptych. The usual system is to bisect the canvas horizontally into broad areas of nuanced ground. He then activates one or both sides of this separation with sky or earth symbols. Gottlieb’s retinal color operates to

  • Harold Bruder

    Some interesting aspects of the handling of subject matter are raised by three exhibitions of representational painting. Harold Bruder is the most problematic of the three artists. His attitude toward the subjects he depicts is abstract. Rhetorical gestures abound, but no specific messages are being conveyed. The paintings recall the work of Puvis de Chavannes—many figures standing about in studied poses dressed in voluminous classical robes but not communicating with one another. In Celebration, with figures in dance-like positions, he raises more questions than he answers. We are given no

  • Louise Nevelson

    Louise Nevelson has returned to the black wooden conglomerate constructions which are her hallmark. She exhibited similar black sculptures at the age of 59 in her 1958 “Moon Garden Plus One” exhibition. This was her first “environmental” exhibition of the work of her mature style, which coalesced in the (and in her) mid-’50s. The current show, entitled “Houses,” but not confined to that configuration alone, includes dollhouses, armoires, columns, plaques, a table, and two large wall-size reliefs. All the work is cluttered; every cavity is filled and each surface is articulated with wooden trim,

  • Agnes Denes

    If diligence, intellectual curiosity, a good heart, and attention to detail are qualities necessary to produce a work of art, Agnes Denes has them all. Her encyclopedic simplifications and systemizations of everything from evolution to esthetics, from truth to traffic patterns, are occasionally so densely compacted that they seem fictional (her Dialectical Triangulations, for instance). At other times they are so open and simple they seem naive, like her x-rays of art works to “get at” the artist’s hidden meaning. The recent show at A.I.R. contained the results of a whole range of her investigations

  • Giovanni Anselmo

    Giovanni Anselmo’s exhibition consisted of several small gray framing projectors located within the large room at John Weber’s and a single, wall-sized photograph on canvas in the smaller gallery. The photograph shows the artist from an aerial view running away from the camera in a field of grass on which the figure is centered. Entitled Entering Into the Work, it is an obvious play on the Abstract Expressionist notion of being “in the work” which is half pun and half a misreading of the idea of Action Painting. The huge size of the canvas, of course, includes the viewer in the work too, which

  • 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

  • Susan Smith

    Susan Smith also stresses the anonymity of her imagery. It derives from a very familiar urban sight: the vari-colored rectilinear grids of apartment interiors exposed by the removal of the building of which they once constituted a lateral wall. What is left is a sort of patchwork record of human habitation—the colors of moldings, paint, and wallpaper, the shapes of various pieces of furniture, of closets and stairways—the configurations that are shown in colors on Gordon Matta-Clark’s newsprint. Smith renders them in monochrome with a dusky softness, in pastel on foamcore or in oil on wood. In

  • Alan Sonfist

    Alan Sonfist’s Landscape in comparison with all this, makes him look like a “naturalist.” The small section of actual forest he has trans ported to the gallery floor is presented as if it were a piece of evidence in the Museum of Natural History. There are a variety of reference frames and scales of observation through which we may view it. First we see it in terms of his experience of it. An excerpt from his diary outlines his discovery of the site and details his reactions on various lev els while it describes the discrete units he encounters there with charming fulsomeness. Next we have a

  • Jannis Kounellis

    Jannis Kounellis confronts nature and the man-made. He makes this confrontation literal, incorporating both objects and performances. He confronts the kind of paradoxical fusion of real and manufactured that Magritte was particularly masterful at depicting. Kounellis’ Papagallo of 1969, the earliest work in the show, consists of a vertically oriented iron rectangle. The work outlines his esthetic position perfectly. It is an abstract “object”—gray, hard, and Minimal—to which the artist has bound a “natural” phenomenon—a richly colorful, cawing, bit of life. Each impinges on the other’s reality.

  • Mary Miss

    Although the work of Mary Miss has received some exposure over the past five years, it remains difficult to pigeonhole as to type. This is partly the result of her determination to steer clear of sculptural categories such as serial or modular or even antiform, and of journalistic designations concerning materials. She keeps shifting around, from wood (which she uses most consistently) through cardboard, chicken wire, rope, and metal to plastics (the least frequently utilized). But no matter what material she uses, she employs it as simply and truthfully as possible, stressing its natural

  • Sylvia Stone

    At the extreme end of the spectrum—as far away from naturalism as you can get—is the geometric abstraction of Sylvia Stone’s glassy green and smoky gray Plexiglas sculptures on view at the Andre Emmerich Gallery in Soho—Crystal Palace and Another Place. These works, plus two smaller pieces, demonstrate some of the problems presented by the contemporary need for “truth to materials.” Stone is working in a transparent material, but she seems to be caught in a dilemma between her love of Plexiglas for its own sake and the fact that she utilizes it to form solid, planar shapes which we are accustomed