C. L. Morrison

  • Deborah Butterfield

    Several years ago, I wrote about DEBORAH BUTTERFIELD’s work and noted the connection between her horses and the artist herself, the way she used her own body measurements to determine their physical proportions, and the lack of any genitals which left them open to interpretation with any identity. Ms. Butterfield expressed dismay at that review, saying it missed the point of her work. But reviews are not necessarily the vision of the artist; for otherwise, might not artists simply write their own reviews? Shouldn’t work be capable of affecting someone rather than simply stimulating a safe

  • Michiko Itatani

    I have heard a number of artists describe unexpected procedures with which their art was supposedly accomplished. Often they sounded more like fancy than reality, but MICHIKI ITATANI’s expressed technique of evolving her paintings during a sort of Oriental tea ceremony ritual rings true. Each layer of lines goes on in a set, solemn order, each line merely the visual remainder of her procedure, the ultimate result a celebration of what she was during that time, rather than any materially inspired object to be valued for itself.

    Itatani was born and schooled in Japan, where among other things she

  • Charles Traub

    CHARLES TRAUB had been doing extremely strong, black and white photography in which people appeared as textural contrasts, formal elements, variations within the photo frame, vehicles for shadow and light, demarcations of a surface plane—anything but personalities with human distinction. But his recent, color Street Portraits seem to want to retract that former philosophy about photographic priorities.

    This new work resembles those four-shots-for-fifty-cent strips you get out of dime-store photo machines. Traub’s portraits are all close up, sometimes shot from below or tilted, with the city

  • Antonio Eguino

    Made under the direction of ANTONIO EGUINO with the former militant revolutionary, now more subtly mass-oriented, Bolivian Ukamau filmmaking group, Chuquiago is intended to be a film about social classes in La Paz. But two unexpected things emerge. First, the entire content often uncomfortably resembles life in the United States, and secondly, the real tragedy, which might or might not be the product of a “class struggle,” is the total emptiness of all the human characters involved.

    The film recounts the lives of four individuals, each progressively higher up the social scale, progressively more

  • Phil Berkman

    Phil Berkman, a conceptual artist, is also Chief of Security at the Museum of Contemporary Art. His performance, 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, addressed the absurdity of equating art with money; it occurred just as the theft of three valuable Cézanne paintings at Chicago’s Art Institute focused attention on museum security.

    Berkman folded a one hundred dollar bill into a child’s paper airplane and pushpinned it to the wall. Then he stationed young uniformed security guards to watch the money (they rotated every 20 minutes or so)—coincidentally all were artists too.

    Entering this “guardscape” as

  • Jerry Peart

    Jerry Peart’s painted aluminum sculpture is exuberant in a colorful, theatrical, outlandish way, full of vanity-table purples, pinks, and chartreuses. One curved surface leads into another; the pieces swoop and lean in a sort of continuous, swinging rhythm of joined, rebounding arcs, with hi-gloss elements framing negative spaces and each work balanced on some fishlike flap or giraffish leg.

    The release of his small sculpture in editions seems a good idea. The parts are cut out and painted, in persistent Chicago steel sculpture style, with Peart doing all the work himself, fabricating and signing

  • Adolf Wölfli

    The current exhibition of Adolph Wölfli’s (1864–1930) drawings, book illustrations, collages and musical scores is provocative in several respects. His visual art all concerns either his own personal life or the fictitious exploits of the child Doufi and St. Adolph II, both autobiographical characters Wölfli created in his 19,500-page epic saga, From the Cradle to the Grave. Or, through work and sweat, suffering and ordeals, even through prayer into damnation.

    Pictured themes include landscapes, shipwrecks, fires, storms, crucifixions, death plunges, rape, incest and tables of names and numbers

  • Beverly Feldmann

    The tone of Beverly Feldmann’s drawings and performances is a childlike sort of realism. Primitivistic drawings use a simple visual layout: usually black and white, pen and ink picture on top and handwritten commentary below—unpretentious visions which can give a hint of the type of things which may lead children out of blissful innocence and into hardened adulthood. The naive renderings of chairs, windows, doors, and hallways add a lingering ironic voice to her best work. One picture communicates the story of a little girl who was tied to a post all day and considered crazy, and the characteristic

  • Yes, They Really Do Want a Mayor Daley Memorial

    IN AUGUST 1968, JUST PRIOR to the Democratic National Convention, thousands of demonstrators arrived in Chicago to “dramatically impress upon . . . the public their belief that dissent in this country is real, that it cannot be repressed or ignored.”1 Several months earlier, police in the city had already been “conditioned . . . to expect that violence against demonstrators . . . would be condoned by city officials.”2 This understanding was largely traced to a widely publicized press conference at which then Mayor Richard J. Daley “seemed to criticize the Police Department for precisely that

  • Kit Schwartz

    Kit Schwartz makes installations based on the 150 or so interviews she has conducted in the last five years with artists and “art-related people” as a part of an ongoing Semiotic Representation of Art During the Seventies. Her current work is based on Personality Profile Question number six, “Describe yourself as a person,” which is prepared for in her interview by preliminary questions about the highlights in one’s life, and one’s happiest and saddest moments. In the gallery, her transcript books are on four music stands, chairs are provided in which the “observer” can sit and read, and stereo

  • Gary Rieveschl

    The Chicago Papers is a recently exhibited collection of documentation for a 1976 project called Spiration—222 marigolds in an Archimedian spiral ending with an arrow pointing the direction the earth rotates—which Gary Rieveschl planted in Grant Park, one of a variety of “lifeform projects” he has created in the Middle West and Europe. The idea of this planting had been to introduce the concept and reality of nature and natural rhythms to a city which he sees as dominated by a concrete façade—in both visual and behavioral terms. Ironically, however, the flowers which Rieveschl had intended as

  • “Chicago Seven”

    In the February 1978 Walter Kelly Gallery “Exquisite Corpse” exhibition, eight Chicago architects—Thomas Beeby, Laurence Booth, Stuart Cohen, James Freed, Helmut Jahn, James Nagle, Stanley Tigerman and Benjamin Weese—who had already named themselves Chicago Seven, exhibited models for townhouses. This group has an interesting history.

    In February 1976, Booth, Cohen, Tigerman and Weese came together to challenge a 1973 exhibition titled “100 Years of Architecture in Chicago: Continuity of Structure and Form,” mounted in Munich, Germany, which helped support the slogan, “Chicago is the only city

  • Barbara Aubin

    Barbara Aubin’s collages are several layers thick with beads, buttons, pearls, cameos, necklaces, ribbons, brooches, hair ornaments, stuffed birds, artificial flowers, embroidered buttons, lace—and other objects which she has called “reference material” for “a woman’s life.” These collections are arranged in glass-front cabinets or shadow-box frames giving them a treasure chest appearance. Vivacious details and contrasting sensuous textures raise questions of how or whether the objects were altered, where they originated, how old they happen to be, if they ever were used, where Aubin found them,

  • Alan Ross

    Given the many disparate scenes which compose one of Alan Ross’s films, their most striking quality is the continuity and persistence of Ross’s eye. By his initial filming he establishes a definite contact with the real world and then manages to convert these real-life scenes into abstract ideas.

    Ross’s film “voice” is established by various technical effects. His 8mm, silent, color, 60-minute Histories begins with scenes that rapidly flicker on and off. An image is rapidly there and not there, a constant pulse unifying the different pictures and transmitting the idea that light emerges from dark

  • John Balsley

    John Balsley’s 1960s motorcycle sculptures reeked of stereotyped macho values: phallic speed machines complete with ruptured cyclers, gravel path and skid marks. His slightly later dark, bombardier-type hanging assemblages were less blatant—the way the parts were put together left it up to one’s imagination to invoke an antiwar response. But did Balsley really intend to glorify brute power, or harbor a lingering horror/fascination for speed, or want to confront a viewer with the imbecility of force? I would imagine Balsley never really resolved these questions himself.

    What a surprise, then, to

  • Gordon Matta-Clark

    Gordon Matta-Clark has been interpreted as a socially conscious artist who ironically points up the problems of modern urbanism by tactics such as supplying oxygen to “stuffy” or “gasping” people on Wall Street, overseeing delightfully sensuous banquets under Brooklyn Bridge, splitting open an abandoned office building to welcome in the warm sunlight, and making art out of soon-to-be-demolished or soon-to-be-reconverted architecture, robbed of its once socially useful function. Recently, in Chicago, Matta-Clark invaded what is scheduled to become the new Museum of Contemporary Art Annex, a

  • Bruce Wood

    Bruce Wood is a master at the creation of an individual frame—photo, film, or painting made from photo. He uses images in all three media which are black and white with amazing variations in gray tones and compositional variety. These images originate in an initial filming of, for instance, two square inches of curdled Hershey’s syrup or ashes mixed with broken glass behind a magnifying paperweight. Ultimately scaled up from miniature to gigantic size, such a source might then become the mirror of some great rippling pool with dancing light beams on a screen. In a subsequent photo made by shooting

  • Ron Kohn

    Photography is always most interesting when it accomplishes things which nothing else can do: Ron Kohn is involved with one of photography’s earliest discovered uniquenesses: the camera’s ability to record light. Typically, in painting and sculpture, light is known only by its effect. In contrast, Kohn shows light with a variety of characteristics, and always as a separate substance. He works in the tradition of Aaron Siskind, which allied Moholy Nagy’s formal photogram to the non-.formal concerns of straight shooting. Thus, Kohn’s camera reports light as a substance which coexists with man and

  • Chicago Dialectic

    WHEN THE STAATLICHE BAUHAUS, founded in 1919 at Weimar by Walter Gropius, was ultimately closed by the Nazis, it had a second chance in Chicago. On June 6, 1937, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, the former Bauhaus master of the Advanced Foundation Course and a chief proponent of Constructivism, received a wire from a group of prominent Chicago business people which called itself the Association of Arts and Industries.1 Moholy had been recommended by Gropius, then a Harvard professor, whose own ideas during Germany’s post-World War I brief period of identity-seeking had been complemented by Moholy-Nagy’s

  • David Greene

    Anthropologists tell us that groups of people need social roles so they have something to depend upon amidst the trickeries of uncivilized nature, and that shaky individuals particularly require the security of predictable social roles. But the photographs of David Greene mix up the social roles. They are intended as documents with the didactic message that this kind of “life” or unorthodox behavior should shamelessly reveal its existence.

    A bride steps into her stockings but she is actually a man in white lace. A pleasant middle-class living room scene with a begonia plant is really a jolting