April Kingsley

  • Willard Midgette

    The cool detachment of Bruder’s approach is similar to that of Willard Midgette. Midgette is quite specific about his subject matter, however; in Choreography: The Paul Taylor Company, for example, he intends each head to be a likeness and renders each environmental detail as exactly as possible. The endeavor eliminates all significant traces of the artist’s sensibility normally discernible in color and touch. Neither has any independent existence in his work. They are completely subjugated to the illusionistic rendition of his subject. The ingenuousness of Midgette’s approach, like that of an

  • Wolf Kahn

    Wolf Kahn, working in an Impressionist style, takes a disinterested attitude toward specificity of his subject. He is more interested in painterly means than either Bruder or Midgette. Some of his country barn and house paintings are practically abstract, having been blurred out of focus. This is especially true of the gray, fog-enshrouded earlier landscapes. Kahn aligns barn edges with the picture edge, eliminates detail, and uses strong compositional thrusts in many of his paintings; these formal devices save the paintings from banality. The painterliness of his impasto operates to advantage

  • 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

  • Gordon Matta-Clark

    Many aspects of some recent Conceptual art or Arte Povera seem to me to be naturalistic, since they are involved in a direct way with depictions of the real world. Yet these aspects have gone largely unrecognized. Hans Haacke’s recent poll of the visitors at the John Weber Gallery, for instance, or Doug Huebler’s many variations on the theme of a snapshot, Vito Acconci’s self-probing, Donald Burgy’s Rock Piece—all of these try hard to be true to nature and to render it without distortion. However, when such work is viewed through the dark glasses needed for linguistic Conceptualism, the issues

  • Alice Adams

    Alice Adams uses the same kinds of materials as Gordon Matta-Clark. She uses them traditionally, which makes for a nice contrast between her constructed sculptures and his “found” ones. Adams’ three freestanding works and one wall relief utilize plaster of Paris, wood and wire lath, all of which are practically obsolete building materials in our time of wallboard and exposed brick. She trowels her plaster onto the lath like stucco, giving it a rough texture. Sometimes the wood-lath slats are spaced as if for plastering; at other times she abuts them. In either case they have a sun-screen

  • 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.