Edit deAk

  • Frank Young

    The episode in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in which Richard Dreyfus, on an uncontrollable impulse, shapes and molds his plate of mashed potatoes into a maquette of the alien landing site, contains an element of jovial satire on the art world. The scene was an immaculate middle-American family dinner till Dad, through playing with his food, was instantly transformed into an outcast and a metaphor for the artist. Under the spell of an internal, unexplainable image, his need actually to visualize it became so obsessive that his table manners—a sign of his social conventionality—were

  • Robert Heinecken

    Robert Heinecken’s show consists of innumerable Polaroids grouped on cardboard with pencil-written texts. Right inside the door he has posted a quasi-advertisement, a predominantly textual piece leaning heavily on words like “interesting,” “increase your pleasure,” “you will achieve,” and of course, “new, improved”—advertising hype about how to draw with a Polaroid. This kind of post-modernist littering with ideas is really dated: the cheerful entrepreneur with a chip on his shoulder. But the work describes Heinecken’s Polaroid adventure—he manipulates the Polaroids by squeezing the emulsion à

  • Dale Henry

    My psyche involuntarily lit up when I read the titles of Dale Henry’s works, words like Cadmium Vermilion (Barium) Red. Color names have a strange charisma, and some of that sensation carried over to the pieces themselves. “How very curious it is, how very bizarre,” I mumbled, after Ionesco’s Bald Soprano, as I sized up one of his interior arrangements: a stretched canvas, a table and chair, all drenched in pure red monochrome against the black floor and white wall. It had a curious, bizarre and bald aspect to it, at first impression. The rest is that very Dale Henry tour de force of fragmented,

  • Ed Ruscha

    One of the curious features of Ed Ruscha’s books is that in many cases the titles coincide with the moment of their conception, and precede their making on any level. Even in light of this, his drawings (1974–77) are somewhat bewildering, as they are the very titles of themselves before, during and after their execution. Similar to Bob Wilson’s scavenging of the environment (including T.V. and the papers) for lines to be used in his plays and much resembling Ruscha’s own photos, the “title” phrases are like snaps of expressions lifted from around him. As such, they are both unpretentious (

  • Dennis Oppenheim

    Ruscha’s show, working in the arena of our sensory hierarchies, is not the only one reviewed here which deals with the conflict between the verbal or rational, and the evocative or intuitive, components of the brain. Dennis Oppenheim zeroes in on the same issue as the theme of his installation Well. In a social sense, language is one of the ways we control the world, but it is also the mode of communication most used to rule us. This paradox is also true in a personal sense: language liberates, but it binds; it is a trap. And indeed, while the audio part of Well argues against the fragmenting,

  • Hanne Darboven

    To tune in to Hanne Darboven’s work we must discard Oppenheim’s geometric hardware bulging with emotions, forget his ethical agonizing over the slow depletion of his potential through each formalized expression of it, and turn instead to a brand of philosophy particular to women—one with a notion of existence as something there and naturally available. It is here that Darboven’s principle of compulsive writing, counting and copying is voiced: “By doing it, it becomes not more and more, because it is already there, but clearer and clearer.” It is at the opposite end of the scale from Oppenheim’s

  • Vito Acconci

    A promotional catalogue recently published by Jane Crawford on art performances and projects includes gemlike paragraphs written by the artists about their own work. Vito Acconci describes his plans as “. . . installations designed to fit a specific physical space that, then is tied into an over all geographical/historical/political space that, in turn, becomes the occasion for revealing myself and my (cultural) origins as an instigator.” Despite my general distrust of intent as a valid measure of any sort of product, Acconci’s recent Clocktower installation Cry, Baby! is so faithful a manifestation

  • Peter Beard

    The glamor and riches of Peter Beard’s social milieu help to generate the deservedly lavish attention paid to him and his work. It was launched long ago innocently enough as a lifestyle and photo romance in the white Africana tradition, but crossed paths with the most wretched samples of ecological disasters that the modern era and population density have inflicted on Africa. Considering the serious and exclamatory nature of his subject matter, “lavish” seems altogether the wrong kind of attention to pay his work.

    “The Last of the Game” falls prey to overzealous designing. From the elephant

  • Cynthia Carlson

    Cynthia Carlson’s works don’t always steal the show. But because of their hazardous boldness and other reasons—not solid run-of-the-mill ones—I consider her eccentric art more than fascinating. I am challenged by the pragmatic miracle of her productions, which seem to exclude any form of art phobia. Her work, which surely comes from, and expresses a love for, art, also integrates without paranoia a wide array of other visual material.

    Carlson started as a painter, working in a mixture of patterning and painterliness. Her simultaneous use of fluid and bulky paint created vital surfaces, sumptuous

  • Roman Opalka

    Starting about a dozen years ago, Roman Opalka set himself the task of counting to infinity as his life’s work, or more precisely, as his life. Each year Opalka has displayed the “details” of his continuing program: seven large, identically sized canvases and fifteen travel notes (drawings) covered with consecutive numbers, all installed exactly like the previous exhibition. Each year we go, without sentiment, not to check out what it is, but to see that it’s still going on; or we may even be content to receive the announcement informing us that this year’s committed digital crawl toward infinity

  • John Chamberlain

    The all-American wonder artist of industrial energy, John Chamberlain, the lover of the bursting squeeze, turned up with his splendidly raw, multi-colored, compressed auto-body sculpture in the ’50s. But he remained untouched by most of the pseudo-culture glamor and moral demolition of the ’60s when the New World spent itself on sophistication. Americans are not known for the complexity of their intellectual heritage or the shrewdness of their politics. Chamberlain’s work, however, exemplifies most clichés favorable to the U.S.A. He is the indigenous Mr. Honest Pragmatic. Exuberantly direct,

  • Ted Stamm

    It is no coincidence that the word SoHo seems to pop up so often in the titles of articles, reviews, and exhibitions involving Ted Stamm; he is an almost perfect example of the artist born and raised there. Henry Geldzahler called SoHo a postgraduate art center, meaning in part that with diligence one could keep abreast of a continuously updated local art catechism. To be sure, abstract paintingsStamm’s older work included—seldom seem tailored to the reductivist vocabulary without a few idiosyncratic twists—twists which themselves are part of the painted lexicon. I came down heavily on this