Dore Ashton

  • Allan D'Arcangelo

    During the ’60s, when many artists were mining the American vernacular for its distinctive power, ALLAN D’ARCANGELO came forward with a string of painted images that defied classification. Although his imagery was drawn from the signage and vistas favored by commercial artists, D’Arcangelo used the flat, styleless illustrator's mode to create a moody, haunting atmosphere peculiar to the North American continent.

    In earlier work, D’Arcangelo had employed an ironic flatness as an acerbic commentary on such American disgraces as the violence accompanying the civil-rights struggle. But in later

  • History Printer

    STROLLING THROUGH THE LOUVRE with French critic Pierre Schneider, Barnett Newman stopped before Delacroix’s grandly theatrical The Death of Sardanapalus. Newman, in his quaint American diction, conferred upon Robert Rauschenberg an art-historical pedigree: “The cut-out forms, the jumble, Guernica, even Rauschenberg is related to this. It is what in journalism we used to call ‘circus layout’: make a mix-up of the page. It’s like a three ring circus. A lot of things going on at the same time.”

    Newman was right. There were a lot of things going on at the same time in Rauschenberg right from the

  • Mass Appeal

    HIS LIFE'S WORK HAS BEEN a wager. Perhaps not as fateful as Pascal’s but certainly profoundly serious. Ellsworth Kelly set himself against the received ideas of painting. Almost half a century after studios hummed with talk about something called a peinture-objet, Kelly entered the arena with his own definition, one unlike anything that had come before. That definition occurred on canvas and not in words, although eventually, and with obvious reluctance, Kelly was constrained to tell an ever more verbal public (which is to say, critics) how to think about the objects he called paintings. Like

  • “Fifth Havana Biennial”

    Messages, more or less imaginatively purveyed, fanned out all over Havana during the Fifth Biennial, the most ambitious to date in terms of both space and thematic didacticism. Founded in 1984 to offer a view of the visual arts in the so-called third world (which it did admirably, sometimes showing the works of as many as 700 artists from numerous “underdeveloped” regions and continents), in later editions, it increasingly attempted to focus on issues rather than individual works. This Biennial, plagued by woeful circumstances in Cuba, was something of a miracle and something of a defeat: a