Budd Hopkins

  • Franz Kline’s Color Abstractions: Remembering and Looking Afresh

    FRANZ KLINE POSSESSED ONE of the two or three most acute painting intelligences that I have ever encountered, and he was also endowed with a superb sense of humor, an unusual pair of assets in any artist. One of his favorite self-mocking stories involved a remark of his mother’s around the time of his first show at the Egan Gallery. Kline had gone through 20 years of apprenticeship and struggle to arrive finally, and abruptly, at his classic black-and-white distillation: “Franz,” his mother said, “I’m ashamed of you, trying to do it the easy way.” He loved to tell this no-colors-no-problems

  • Diebenkorn Reconsidered

    DESPITE ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES we have been afforded during the last two decades to see Richard Diebenkorn’s paintings, his work, for many, has remained peculiarly invisible, hard to get a fix on, difficult to place. That situation, of course, is our fault, not his. A major cause is the way art has been categorized in museums, college art courses and popular histories. Most of the time the history of modern art is presented not as the study of the work of individual artists, but as the unfolding of a kind of contemporary Hundred Years’ War among rival esthetic factions. Territorial seizures are

  • Frank Stella’s New Work: A Personal Note

    FRANK STELLA’S NEW FULL-TILT painted constructions appeared as a deliberate provocation of his audience and its expectations. His show at Knoedler served as a daring and spirited preemptive strike on a becalmed art scene, as well as another coup-de-grace to ’60s formalism, to which, of course, he contributed so much. One hesitates to imagine the effect of these bizarre, hybrid works on the remaining shrunken garrison of orthodox color field and Minimalist painters, clinging to dicta about flatness and the evils of tonal contrasts. Everyone I talked to, even if they hated the show, or withheld

  • An Ad for Ad as Ad

    Art-as-art: The Selected Writings Of Ad Reinhardt, ed. Barbara Rose (New York: Viking Press, 1975), 236 pages, illustrated.

    Since the 19th century almost every artist has thought of himself or herself as an outsider. Movements like Surrealism or Abstract Expressionism are as much the result of artists’ need to operate, however marginally, within a larger group, as they are a matter of shared esthetic goals. Isolation can be a numbing experience.

    Ad Reinhardt, the quintessential outsider, came into his separatist position gradually; once there, he guarded his outpost fiercely. He was originally

  • A Note on Composite Imagery: The Photographs of Barbara Jo Revelle

    A CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EARLIER 20th-century photography and modernist painting has been the unusual degree of formal and iconographic simplification insisted upon by the photographers, all the way from Atget to Adams. Since the whole seductive world was out there, waiting to be captured, the strategies employed from documentary to high-art photography had in common the method of distillation and an accompanying horror of the extraneous. As if to assert their powers of control and to grant themselves ethical and artistic credentials, photographers chose to cultivate narrow, somewhat

  • Lucas Samaras

    I’ve long thought that I’d like to see a show of latter-day Surrealist-tinged American art in conjunction with orthodox European Surrealism: Lucas Samaras, Arshile Gorky, Edward Kienholz, Marisol, John Graham, Joseph Cornell and so on, next to Tanguy, Ernst, Dali, Masson and company. Oldenburg, in his drawings, could even be our Magritte. It would be an edifying exhibition, stirring whatever drops of jingoist blood may be flowing in my veins.

    The recent Samaras show at Pace showed clearly both his amazing technical range and his main limitation. The limitation is one of scale. Samaras is basically

  • Rafael Ferrer

    Rafael Ferrer is an expressionist whose art contains a recurring cluster of private symbols. Despite some earlier linkages with Process and Conceptual modes, he remains more a kind of latter-day Max Beckmann than a Robert Morris. His latest show contained four continuing series of works: a group of painted and drawn-over maps hanging on the wall; a group of boat sculptures suspended by wires; a series of open-form assemblages; and an environment containing a number of works lit dimly by variously colored neon tubing. It was a powerful exhibition.

    Born in Puerto Rico, a onetime drummer in Latin

  • Roy Lichtenstein

    The paintings of Roy Lichtenstein have probably never been surpassed in sheer pitiless glitter. His recent show consisted of two groups: a series of horizontal paintings of entablatures and a larger group of satires of earlier 20th-century painting styles and procedures. Lichtenstein’s most characteristic stance is that of satirist. His humor has been consistently cold and sardonic. Sporting with the likes of Matisse or Carrá or Mondrian raises a series of moral problems, since it is a case of a declared modern artist savaging other artists. The issue is a little like that of certain Jewish

  • Dennis Ashbaugh

    In all but one of Dennis Ashbaugh’s eccentrically shaped paintings, the major axes are horizontal and vertical. The exception, a striking red painting, which nowhere contains a horizontal or vertical, is still so rectilinear and flat—so wall-like—that it is completely at ease with the others. Ashbaugh is young and his works display some resemblances to earlier paintings; the most obvious connection is with Al Held’s paintings of the middle ’60s. They touch on Held’s bluntness and power, yet they are not so distilled. Instead they are open, being physically made up of sections fastened together,

  • John Grillo

    One of the unspoken rules of painting in the ’50s was that beauty, alone and resplendent, was not to be tolerated. God forbid that it should be consciously pursued. John Grillo happens to be an artist of great painterly skill whose paintings, then and now, are extremely beautiful. In fact, beauty seems to be what they are mainly about. This was a mixed blessing in those macho times. On the one hand, his work appeared to lack the requisite Cedar Bar toughness, and instead brought to mind people like Bonnard or Renoir whom we were not supposed to think much of. On the other hand, his work occupied

  • A Proposal for The Museum of Modern Art

    SOMETIME IN THE LATE ’50s I began to think of the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art as resembling a hunter’s trophy room; the big game heads were all carefully mounted and displayed, one of each species, Ibex by Lion by Picasso by Braque. William Rubin’s recent two-part Artforum interview brought a different image to mind. The reinstalled collection was laid out in such a way that the works now seem like color plates in a book on the history of modern art. There is no necessary reason why the collection should not be arranged in this judicious and didactic way; on the contrary,