Donald Factor

  • Assemblage

    IN 1961, THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART mounted an exhibition entitled “The Art of Assemblage” that included 140 artists while not even attempting to be really comprehensive. The art of assemblage had proven a tremendously popular concern among artists of our century, mushrooming, as the exhibition showed, in a completely unpredictable manner from the tentative collages of cubism.

    As a major force, though, it gained its real momentum in the years following World War II, through a combination of cultural circumstances including the development of a number of new synthetic materials that were capable of

  • Boxes

    WHEN AN IMPORTANT commercial gallery, particularly one recognized for its serious involvement with contemporary art, presents a major survey or themed exhibition, an element of critical, and even official, approval accrues to the included work. In a period when artistic value tends to appear more and more a function of social dynamics, this can prove dangerous. The juxtaposition of comparatively minor with major work creates for the newer, less-intimately involved and informed audience, an illusion of equal quality. It is the function of commercial galleries to merchandise the work of artists

  • Edward Kienholz

    Born 1927, Spokane, Washington.

    Exhibited in “The Art of Assemblage,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1961; Whitney Museum, 1963.

    One Man Shows, Sundell Studio, Los Angeles, 1955; Ferus Gallery, 1956–59; Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, 1963.

    Represented by Dwan Gallery.

     

    THE CONSTRUCTIONS of Edward Kienholz involve the concept of occasional poetry, that is, events external to the artist’s immediate psychic environment seem to incite production and create subjects for the work. Since about 1958, this has taken the form of three­-dimensional assembled and painted objects, often anthropomorphic and related

  • Franz Kline

    This show includes 11 paintings and 7 drawings from 1950 through 1961 most of which are owned locally and many of which have never before been displayed publicly. It is a delightful show not only because it is permeated with the Kline myth but because the pictures, even the unfamiliar ones, are, like old friends, wonderful to rediscover.

    The psychological effect of the pic­tures themselves is difficult to trans­late. The shock and force that once ex­isted is now for the most part gone, and what is left are large very elegant abstractions that permeate the viewer with a nostalgia for the impact

  • Frank Stella

    This is the first West Coast show of paintings by a New York artist who has, up until now, been involved primarily with the metaphysics of the object in space. His paintings, prior to this current show, were composed of evenly shaped, symmetrically arranged stripes of a single solid color. These stripes were designed to conform to the shape of the canvas (often with notched-out areas or in the shapes of straight-edged letters such as H or L) in order to give an illusion of massive solidity and to focus attention on their environmental context. His total elimination of color changes or surface

  • Karl Benjamin

    In this show of mostly 1961 and 1962 oil paintings, Benjamin takes another crack at eventually covering all of the possibilities of so-called “abstract classicism.” In his last show here, the paintings used a regular horizontal-vertical grid made up of bright, sharply contrasting colors that flickered outward from the picture plane. In the show previous to that, there were interlocking, geometric forms composing a generally shallow space with pleasant colors. He now allows sharp-edged, irregular shapes to hang, spill and float in a deep, almost surreal space. These shapes all have carefully

  • H. C. Westermann

    The primary problem with most recent work in the area of assemblage has been the dominance of literary concepts at the expense of formal integrity. Extra-pictorial subject matter has in most instances directed form, thus creating a sort of sophisticated, urban folk art. Westermann has been one of those artists caught in this trap of contemporary myth-making. In his early pieces he dealt in autobiographical surreal symbolism generally in a rather conventional manner. From this he developed his more well-known series of anthropomorphic houses, boxes and machines such as Great Mother Womb, To a

  • “Mr. and Mrs. Gifford Phillips Collection”

    When a collector deigns to make his entire collection public, he places himself in the dangerous position of total exposure. He stands naked before a mob of stranger-experts and asks that he be examined and judged. At this moment, he joins the artist in his acceptance of the catharsis of exposure. Collectors who own only the “right” artists, or whose collections are composed entirely of masterpieces arouse suspicion. The “mistakes” are what give a collection its personality, and tell us something of the collector (as presumably they tell the collector something of himself).

    This is not a

  • Jasper Johns

    This so called retrospective is, in effect, a pick-up show including work from 1957 to the present. It does not function as a true retrospective in that it excludes some of Johns’ most important series of pictures—namely, the flags and targets. The show concentrates on the monotone paintings and collages of 1957–58 and the artist’s most recent work. The earlier pictures include two very excellent examples: “Newspaper,” a small grey collage, and the elegant “White Numbers.” The most recent works, though, are the most interesting in that they point up the major problem that today faces an important

  • James McGarrell

    These recent expressionist figure paintings have, at first glance, a look of importance. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection one realizes that their importance does not maintain itself. The main problem with McGarrell’s work is that others have done it better. McGarrell has received some prestige and, one assumes, sales, based most probably on all of the recent return-to-the-figure publicity. The paintings are competent, but they make one wish for a good Francis Bacon show to set a standard for this sort of painting.

    Donald Factor