Dennis Adrian

  • Fahlstrom: “The Three Faces of Oyv”

    OYVIND FALSTROM’S EXHIBITION OF DRAWINGS, collages, and constructions at the Sidney Janis Gallery provokes some reflection upon the question of artistic function in a number of its possible meanings, particularly the meaning of the artist’s activities and products, the observer’s relationship to the latter, and whether the artist’s function (here defined as activities plus products) has, or ought to have, separate or even only differing meanings to various classes of observer.

    Fahlstrom’s work precipitates these considerations by its pronounced even texture on most levels, rococo variety of form

  • William Giles

    William Giles’s debut with the Allan Frumkin Gallery is surely one of the strongest shows of the New York winter season. In his offering of twenty-four canvases finished over the past year, Giles presents a particular kind of abstract invention that felicitously harmonizes two distinct approaches to pictorial formulation.

    First, each of the paintings makes use of forms which are, or appear to be, capable of mathematical definition. These forms are on the whole relatively simple ones: broad stripes, segments of circular bands, wide spirals, triangles. They are overlaid and intertwined in careful

  • Mark Di Suvero and Edwin Ruda

    At the Park Place Gallery Mark Di Suvero and Edwin Ruda share the premises in a two-man show having the novel fillip of a couple of works done by the two men in collaboration. As has happened before in painter-sculptor two-man efforts where Di Suvero has been the sculptor, he completely dominates and steals the show. I have remarked upon this before, when another “wall artist” was the victim, pointing out that the sculptor always has the advantage in such a situation, but presumably the parties involved know what they’re doing.

    Ruda’s work is modular, “systemic” if you like, in that each piece

  • Edward Kienholz

    At the Dwan Gallery, Edward Kienholz, under the touted description “Concept Tableaux” shows one of his macabre mock-ups, together with projects for a dozen additional ones. To back off from these latter for a moment, the main thing to see in the exhibition is the artist’s The State Hospital. This piece reproduces with grisly fidelity a room, or rather a cell, in the hopeless ward of a state mental institution. One peeks into the room through a small barred window in the padlocked door to discover a brown varnished figure of an elderly nude man. He reclines, facing the observer, on an iron cot

  • Robert Howard

    At the Royal Marks Gallery, Robert Howard shows six pieces of recent sculpture in polychrome welded steel. The show breaks down into three pairs each of which has a specific kind of composition. In one group (Landscape XXII, Landscape XVIII) lenticular pods are perched on tubular flexing arms to suggest a spare and enlarged fantastic botany. The polychromy in these pieces, respectively blue and violet, and shades of ochre, is very carefully modulated to dictate one’s sequential experience of the forms. All of Howard’s pieces are marked by a nice sense of balance, a balance which involves not

  • Grace Hartigan

    Grace Hartigan’s current show at the Martha Jackson Gallery is welcome testimony that the artist has herself well in hand after some mushiness of formal content and thoughtless coloristic forays in past seasons. Now there is again the brisk and jarring presentation of a well thought out composition given just the meanness of palette necessary to remind one of how difficult it is to rassle with a big canvas. The gist of Hartigan’s ideas in this show is that the free invention of abstract form, given a certain cast of mind, results in a bewildering slash of biomorphic and environmental suggestions.

  • John McCracken, Lyman Kipp, Donald Judd, Frank Gallo, Robert Graham, Trova, Duane Hatchett, Lee Bontecou, David Weinrib, Tom Doyle and more

    The Whitney Museum’s first Annual of Sculpture and Printmaking in its new quarters is, as it has always been, completely dominated by the sculpture, the prints, as ever, merely squeezed in where they can fit.

    The Whitney’s attitude toward American graphics has always been unclear; one does not even know whether the Museum collects it in any systematic way. If, for a time, the field seemed to be preempted by the Museum of Modern Art’s formidable Department of Prints and Drawings, MoMA’s failure to mount extensive graphics exhibitions should have permitted the Whitney to make a more vigorous attempt

  • Richard Lindner

    Richard Lindner’s exhibition at Cordier and Ekstrom puts forth his obsessional mythology of the erotic possibilities of the demonic female with a clarity and force that surpass what really ought to be possible within the range of his iconic formats. Lindner’s atmosphere of erotic menace and excitement is not easily explained, and it certainly is not due to any sensationalism in the imagery, or to sexual explicitness. The imagery taken by itself does have aspects which are disquieting, but only because of the specific forms that Lindner uses. Some of his regularly employed devices are that the

  • Alex Katz

    At the Fischbach Gallery Alex Katz has a small show of two tabletops of his cutouts. These are figures which might have been cut out of some larger painting. Mounted to stand freely, they good-naturedly tease the viewer on the point of apparent volume in painting. It is perfectly obvious that they are flat, first because successful illusionism in painting, even trompe l’oeil never really aims at making us mistake the painted thing for its actual counterpart, and secondly because the irregular contour of the cutouts clearly exists only in one plane. Katz’s sportiveness comes in that he paints

  • George Ortman

    George Ortman’s current show at the Howard Wise Gallery discards, in several examples, the regular rectangular format he had used exclusively in the past in favor of a fat H-shaped layout within which to dispose his carefully related geometric shapes. In these, and in a number of the rectangular pieces too, he uses a mixture of painted and aluminum forms, introducing a dully reflective element into his compositions.

    Ortman’s formal vocabulary here is what we have come to know in the past, that is, a variety of precise, and usually perfectly regular geometric shapes which are fitted together and

  • Red Grooms

    Red Grooms’s current manifestation at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery consists of a hilarious movie, Fat Feet, the props and whatnot for this flick, and some not really nostalgic evocations of past filmdom luminaries. These last are either big gouaches, some of which are freely adapted from period photographs, and carpentered and painted tableaux and wall pieces, layered and articulated in a way which produces strange analogues to the grainy still or contrasty close-up. Grooms’s interest in his theme, the Adamic era of movie production, is not the saccharine campy retrospection pandered to in

  • “The Nude—Now”

    The January show at Allan Frumkin Gallery is a strange kind of survey called “The Nude—Now,” made up of a painting or two by fifteen contemporary American artists, most of them youngish and of some reputation. The extremes of age and fame are, respectively, de Kooning, who has a following in these parts, and Johann Sellenraad, who I believe here shows in New York for the first time. The point of the show is not too easy to divine if one looks for some unity beyond simply that of the subject. A goodly number of the artists represented do not concentrate on the nude as a theme in their production,