C. L. Morrison

  • 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

  • Robert Graham

    In the 1960s, Robert Graham arranged five-inch wax models in plexiglass perspex boxes, reminiscent of Muybridge’s and Eakins’s studies of a nude woman from many angles. Obviously, the painted specifics of nipples, pubic hair, and pretty faces were of more interest to the artist than the definition of light and space or the relationships between the forms in the box. By 1971, Graham removed this narrative element from his work, concentrating on form. The small-scale models now were bronze cast, and the body parts showed not sensuality, but a potential for limitless, complex positions. This movement

  • 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

  • Jim Nutt

    I never was a little boy who got particular delight out of dangling wormy creatures above mommy’s head, so the mischief of doing “bad” images and displaying them in stodgy places where only “proper” things should be shown—i.e. art galleries—fails to give me vicarious fascination. Nor am I real amazed at stuff that wants to jolt me from my middle-class values, make me blush in front of my friends, or generally show me that everything in a world I thought was virtuous either stinks or is subject to human ridicule.

    Jim Nutt’s fiendish images drawn on paper don’t really look so fiendish, and, no,

  • Joan Brown

    Joan Brown’s large-scale, cartoonish painting has moved from her prior hokey camp and jokey funk to a kind of no-nonsense social imagery, painful but bearable. Her format is controlled, her figures frontal, and her paint asensual. In a new group of six self-portraits, primarily concerned with de-idealizing women, I marvel at the areas in which life and art can come together. For example: Woman Waiting in Restaurant—the black and white tile floor, a device immortalized by Vermeer to situate a contented woman in a warm window light, now leads along a roguish red carpet to billboardish rows of

  • Bruce Conner

    Bruce Conner’s drawings, like his assemblages and films, deal with the concept of transmutation of form, both optical and metaphysical. But, whereas the assemblages and films have specific origins in the world, the drawings have no scale reference, and, in many cases, a cool, nonhierarchic pattern diminishes the importance even of specific detail. Thus, the rhythmic, densely organic, scribbles, dots, and hatches might refer to molecules or galaxies, interiors or exteriors, dissolving geometry. They include rows of mandalas, cocoonish fetuses, illustrations for Dante’s Inferno, landscaped