C. L. Morrison

  • “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,

  • 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

  • S. Thomas Scarff

    S. Thomas Scarff does interesting things with some of his large-scale sculpture; big, heavy objects are given the quality of an immanent performance. Enormous though many of them are, they are all concerned with action rather than form.

    His characteristic symbol is a saillike aluminum shape, a sort of triangle which may be flat or folded and which curves slightly forward at the tip. Its elongated point stretches like taffy until it won’t get any thinner. In a recent piece at the Chicago Cultural Center, two such forms rose 20 feet into the air, bisected by a strip of bluish purple neon which made

  • “Chicago Light Passage”

    Chicago Light Passage was a series of seven nighttime performances given by a “light brigade” of 16 artists and architects, a “field marshall” in charge of implementation and coordination, and John David Mooney, the sculptor who inspired and “estheticized” the plan.

    First the practical aspects. Dr. Robert S. Rohde, a laser physicist presently with the U.S. Army Electronics Command, had early in his career been responsible for programming complex, precision, army marching drills. Using the same methods for charting sequences of interacting, overlapping, dipping, pivoting, intersecting, and fanning

  • Alan Neider

    Much of Alan Neider’s work has a certain inviting, untidy immediacy. He adds wooden blocks and beams to the corners and sides of his six-foot-square paintings, then streaks paint over the canvas letting drops, dots, and trickles mess up the wood. He also produces what he calls “collars,” rumpled configurations of untrimmed canvas dipped into asphalt paint and left to congeal with unsystematic pools of a tacky, shiny, greasy-appearing hue. A third project is “basement sculpture,” roughly four-foot-high structures whose glass and mirror bodies are dripped with yellowed, medicine-colored paint,

  • Jerry Saltz

    Jerry Saltz’s work, a “25-year project” inspired by The Divine Comedy, was begun on January 1, 1975, when he started to locate some 150 personalities living anywhere from 1321 to 1975 and, in a large conceptual piece, charted their potential position in the levels of Dante’s Hell according to their degree of evil. His subsequent explorations of Dante were more subtle. There followed his Ghost Sonatas, blueprint-type rubbings, and then the illustrations and altarpieces which are currently on display. At present, Saltz plans to make 100 illustrations and 33 polyptych altarpieces for Dante’s Prologue