C. L. Morrison

  • Sandra Straus

    It’s “Parents Night” at the University of Chicago Laboratory School, and Sandra Straus walks into her youngster’s sixth-grade social studies class. On the bulletin board are rows of notebook-paper sheets; the assignment was to “make a million marks.”

    Noting that the “children’s demonstration expresses how I feel as much as any other projects I’ve done,” Straus transferred 115 of the assignment papers out of that social studies context and into an art gallery. Behind the gallery’s permanent, classical sculpture case, the notebook-paper sheets are unexpected, immediate, and refreshingly direct.

    All

  • Richard Hunt

    Richard Hunt makes good tough sculpture but when he turns to prettiness, his work loses its formal, conceptual, and even mythological edge.

    He started Hybrids in the early ’60s. Linear, steel, elongated “insects” that coiled around like paranoid flies, they made weird paths into space from little point-anchors on wall, ceiling, or floor. In the later ’60s, his work stressed massed or crushed bodies welded together with organically shaped fragments. Now, he deals more intellectually with the concept of bringing together unrelated elements, assembling them, and relying on the resulting visual

  • Jim Self and Friends

    A dancer whose choreography has elements of both Graham’s expressionism and Rainer’s objectivity, Jim Self most resembles those Chicago-area visual artists who use the human body to exhibit metaphors of larger physical or social issues. I am thinking, for example, of Phil Berkman’s work in which props—perhaps broken peanut shells or bits of garbage—are strewn about a performance area and then gradually cleared away. Simultaneously, a personal territory is created and a symbolic form built up which maintains the threat of overcrowding. In White on White, Self and “friends” (Duncan Erley, Donna

  • Leif Brush

    Leif Brush advocates the so-called marriage of art and technology, a union which in the past has produced frivolous experiments with sophisticated techniques, ecology-oriented demonstrations all too familiar to rural audiences, and reminders of Chemistry 101 experiments with the basic properties of vital substances. Starting with the 1960’s GRAV and New Tendencies protests at human domination, art-and-technology sometimes came with an appeal to conscience, and Sonfist and Haacke still protest a potential ultimate extermination of natural processes by technology.

    But Brush announces a personal

  • Richard Artschwager

    Richard Artschwager’s celotexboard paintings, done since 1964, are views of home interiors drawn in charcoal that is allowed to seep through two tones of white acrylic. Up close, they are mystical and fuzzy, taking on the texture of the grainy board. From far away, they focus into mathematically precise patterns—a recap of Seurat. In his 1966–1967 diptychs and triptychs, a photo is fragmented, the images transferred to board sections and then reassembled optically, if not physically, by a continuous textural treatment. A section of marbleized formica interrupts these image fragments. It is

  • Cletus Johnson

    “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer . . .”

    “Theater . . . an edifice for dramatic performances; a place where events of importance are enacted; a structure for viewing a wonder or a spectacle.” A theater is also a box; it shelters a specific situation and contains an event. Since the early 1950s, boxes in art have been “theaters” for many things: incongruous images, memorabilia collections, erotic or menacing forms, social or political metaphors, intimations of infinity, and everyday junk. Cletus Johnson’s theaters are architectural facades of old-fashioned movie palaces or vaudeville

  • Mary Stoppert

    Each of Mary Stoppert’s designs, on a human scale, has a physically rigid, straight wooden frame or support, which may connect with a latex-substantiated rope, a curved element that extends into the viewer’s space. The designs progressively widen or taper, with an accompanying motion of uplift or descent. Real-world references are to sleds, chairs, fences, ladders, surreys, and skeletal frame houses. Here Stoppert resembles the steel sculpture of a less poetic but practical Midwestern sculptor, Michael Hall, whose elegant, stark designs have contrastingly common, friendly references to gates,

  • Jim Roche

    Jim Roche’s one-night performance of 10 tapes, selected from about 500 1970–75 audio pieces, has problems similar to his ongoing gallery show of drawings for park sites and photos of the installations. All the work as presented is little more than a tease. We see diagrams of mechanically animated horseshoe crabs, but where are the real ones for us to watch? We see aerial photos of Roche’s park sites as football-field float arrangements of flowers, mechanical toys, moats, etc., but the photos are small and 2-D, and the sites are massive and 3-D. Why no installation of flowers and moats in the

  • Lyn Blumenthal

    Lyn Blumenthal’s new installation begins with a layer of powdered and pebbled bitumen strewn over two 13-foot by 15-foot areas side by side on the gallery floor. This is a natural, chaotic, or antiform “nonarrangement,” which emphasizes the various material properties within each area’s bounds. Coal crystals reflect the light, and the powder absorbs it. Bumps and particles make a varied content that is easily bypassed in faster, nonsensual, outside-the-gallery situations—a frequent problem with Earthworks and outdoor installations.

    But Blumenthal also introduces form. Across the center of one

  • Bill Conger

    Bill Conger’s oil paintings begin simply as a way to organize a flat surface, but they go beyond that fundamental. Conger is an eclectic, an appropriate disposition in the city of Chicago, where people, objects, and other influences continually come and go; and his work might appear “dated” in art history’s sequence. But if art is a changing, overlapping “mosaic,” as Lawrence Alloway suggests, rather than a “crystallized” mainstream, the concept of datedness is irrelevant to Conger’s work. It has a metaphysical light, a cubist spatial orientation, a surreal juxtaposition of elements, and an

  • Robert Irwin

    Robert Irwin’s two new pieces do, respectively, more with less and a hell of a lot with nothing. The first is encountered at the museum entrance, and the viewer boggles at an apparently endless path, which traverses the gallery length, 80 feet, and divides the whole main space into three sections: left area, middle volume scrim, and right area. The right area is impossible to get to, without jumping a stair rail, and the view of its real-world white walls, tile floor, and square grate light-fixtures seems “lower,” “basic,” or “ordinary,” in contrast to the central volume. Like Irwin’s previous

  • May Stevens

    Appointed with TVs, BVDs, bull-dogs and flags, the Big Daddy image has recurred through seven years of paintings, silkscreens, and gouaches by May Stevens. Each variation has cumulatively built or revealed the concept of an authoritarian beast that BD symbolizes. The impact is in Stevens’s irony, her poised commentary on a gross subject, as compared with, for example, Golub’s chaotically ripped and singed canvases. Both BD’s symmetry and his persistence through a series are echoes of regimentation.

    Stevens admits that her focus on social problems attempts no social results. And I would agree that