Ed Hill

  • Mel Chin

    It is from the Duchampian model—the subversion of “retinal” esthetics and the fondness for puns, assisted ready-mades, and chance operations—that Mel Chin seems to derive much of the creative energy for his art. Given his sharply intelligent eclecticism, however, one expects and finds other sources, such as Renaissance figuration and classical myth, being tapped by an unpredictable and fluid imagination.

    The first section of Chin’s recent exhibition of 90 works dating from 1974 to 1985 was dominated by “Myrrha,” the mythic theme that in its final form was realized as a monumental sculpture, Myrrha

  • Clyde Connell

    The self-evident character of Clyde Connell’s work, especially the sculptures, tempts us into received categories of response. For example, Adam Simon’s laconic 1984 film on Connell starts from the premise that the “mystery” of nature from which we are historically and technologically alienated is at the center of her art. He, like others, tends to shroud the work in the ground fog of Lake Bistineau, Louisiana, where Connell lives and produces her art, obscuring the objective clarity of the work’s meaning. This notion of mystery is more a function of the mental distance from which we experience

  • Derek Boshier

    This “idle passion,” painting, continues to be surrounded by excessive boosterism which, in its indiscriminate energy, obscures the accomplishments of those who successfully command the medium to tasks beyond the narcotic celebration of painting itself. The task Derek Boshier sets for painting, at least in his most recent, large-scale work, is the assembling of irrepressibly odd actors, props, and settings drawn freely (but not arbitrarily) from the vast cabinet of Western culture as well as from the curious recesses of his private history. The business of the painting is the playing out of

  • Earl Staley

    Earl Staley’s recent exhibition consisted of paintings devoted mainly to Greek myths—the well-known Orpheus and Narcissus stories as well as the lesser-known politico-religious tale of Bellerophon—with the remaining work cast to the ambiguous winds of grotesquerie and nature. It does not seem so long ago that the use of mythological or allegorical themes struck most observers as a risky act of packing one’s art in ancient luggage too worn and heavy for modern travel. During the last decade, however, Staley has consistently put the lie to that stubbornly Modernist notion, and currently he has a

  • Ray K. Metzker

    In 1928, regarding photography, László Moholy-Nagy noted that "a small quantity of white is capable of keeping in balance by its activity large areas of the deepest black. . . .” A majority of the 190 photographic works by Ray K. Metzker in this retrospective exhibition, “Unknown Territory,” call to mind—so calculated are their extreme tonal contrasts—this principle of optical design. For example, in Europe: Frankfurt, Germany, 1961, the graphic legacy of Moholy and the Bauhaus (via the Institute of Design , Chicago) are emblematically present. From above—Moholy’s “bird’s eye view”—we are shown

  • “The Nicaragua Media Project”

    The military aggression waged against Nicaragua by U.S.-sponsored “contras” (so-called “freedom fighters”) is equaled in perfidy only by the nonmilitary actions—economic, propagandistic—of the Reagan administration, and all are designed in toto to bring about the eventual overthrow of the Sandinista government. Essential to the narrative that supports these political tactics is an unrestrained exploitation of media materials and forms which gives voice and shape to a xenophobically consituted representation of the Sandinistas as Marxist “other.” (Anti-socialism never sleeps.) A recognition of

  • Richard Prince

    Richard Prince’s work, broadly described, is a deviant breed, something of a cross between Robert Heinecken and Erving Goffman. Its sexuality, however, is more equivocal and complex but less unabashed than the former, while its sociopsychology is less systematic but more subversive than the latter. By this crude rendering we do not mean to ignore Prince’s debt to deconstructive theory. Indeed, one cannot get very far with the work unless its relation to such thought is understood.

    The exhibition consisted of an unbalanced mix of pieces from three series: “The Entertainers,” “Gangs,” and the to

  • David Bates

    David Bates’ bucolic subjects are not the loaded or melodramatic stuff typical of current painting. In Fall Fire, 1984, for example, a young man wearing a brimmed hat, a sleeveless sweater, and Hush Puppies rests on freshly raked grass, contemplating a small pile of burning leaves and the local color. Beside him lies his black and white collie, a retrieved stick between the dog’s paws. A red-handled rake leans against the same tree as the contemplative young man. Nothing untoward occurs here, nothing out of joint. No art-historical allusions present themselves, save, perhaps, the eccentrically

  • Lee Krasner

    There should be no doubt that the body of Lee Krasner’s work deserves public notice and thorough critical examination. A Krasner retrospective has been long due; she is, after all, a veteran painter of fifty years. But whether she and her work embody the significance curator Barbara Rose claims, or whether Rose’s representation of Krasner is an excessively reified construction, is open to question.

    Rose assembled a major exhibition containing 120 paintings and works on paper; a smaller, highly didactic, ancillary exhibition which traced Krasner’s educational development; a 30-minute film comprised

  • “American Still Life 1945–1983”

    At its simplest the genre of still life focuses on common objects within controlled settings. Any serious survey, however, will reveal a surprising diversity of intentions even when confined to still life in American art of the last four decades, as is this exhibition, organized by Linda Cathcart. These parameters also permit a decentered examination of issues that have preoccupied artists, critics, and others since World War II.

    The implicit objective of “American Still Life 1945–1983” may well be less analytic or theoretical. Perhaps the presentational character of the exhibition can be best