Emily Wasserman

  • An Interview with Composer Steve Reich

    WILL YOU DESCRIBE SOME of your early work with tape recorders and the idea of “phasing” as a form of musical composition?

    The process of phasing was discovered in 1965 by accident. I had recorded a tape in Union Square in San Francisco, of a black preacher, preaching about the Flood. I was very impressed with the song quality of his speech, it was something that hovered between music and speech. By making tape loops out of his voice (which was something I was working with a great deal then, and which many other people were also doing), the pitch became everything, and what he was saying gradually,

  • “This Is Not Here” (A Report on the Yoko Ono Retrospective at Syracuse)

    The mind is omnipresent, events in life never

    happen alone and the history is forever

    increasing its volume. The natural state of life

    and mind is complexity. At this point, what art

    can offer (if it can at all—to me it seems) is an

    absence of complexity, a vacuum through which

    you are led to a state of complete relaxation of

    mind. After that you may return to the

    complexity of life again, it may not be the same,

    or it may be, or you may never return,

    but that is your problem . . .


    (Yoko Ono, New York, 1966)

    The job of an artist is not to destroy but to change the value of things . . . in

  • H. C. Westermann

    Always outside of the seasonal flux of trends and “isms,” H. C. Westermann maintains his unique position as the magical creator of subtly satirical effects in varied forms. His constructions, block prints, and watercolors on view at the Frumkin Gallery were a thorough delight. Like the best science fiction films, or the comic books you doted on as a kid, they combine a marvelous, obsessive craftsmanship and a personalized technology with a novel sense of the fantastic—all finally, and finely, wrought in to a special blend of deadpan reality and irrational dreamstuff that emerges as more than

  • Talking to Alan Shields

    LATELY YOU’VE BEEN USING clusters and strings of threaded beads, draped into and over many of the newer paintings, as well as striped wands, long colored poles in canvas sheaths, gauze, ropes, and “see-through” grids. Can you describe your working process for any particular painting? What about the canvas hanging in the studio, called Don Duck Wiggly?

    It got so complicated at the center, that I took it out. The cut-out piece then became a small beaded medallion (a separate painting in itself) about two inches in diameter. I did two rosettes like that—one is sewn with a lot of threads over paint,

  • Joseph Raffael, Carlos Villa, Hank Gobin

    JOSEPH RAFFAEL AND CARLOS VILLA (both recently emigrated from New York back to California) have been working with notions of an art that will invoke a strong spiritual aura and an atmosphere of magic or ritual. (In New York, Nancy Graves has developed her sculpture along similar lines; see Artforum, October, 1970.) This inevitably leads back to, or parallels the ways one must look at the arts of primitive cultures, relearning a process of seeing, with the unrationalized openness and trust of a child or a member of those older civilizations. By association, this attitude links Raffael to Gauguin;

  • Meditating at Fort Prank

    If you are really living right and you consider what’s left, if you’ve really found the Pure way to live—can you make it without comparisons? They used to come in like fresh supplies-ideas about who was messing the place up. And with each defeat of the Un-Pure our purity was that much more. It was getting so clean it was hard to breathe. But you could always blame that on the altitude if you needed a reason.

    —William T. Wiley, Dwelling in the Pure and Infinite, watercolor, 1970

    SOME ARTISTS GO THEIR OWN WAY, deliberately eluding strict art historical and critical categories of “major” or “minor”

  • A Conversation with Nancy Graves

    CERTAIN NOTIONS OF PRIMITIVE religion and the origins of art are pertinent to a consideration of Nancy Graves’ thinking. The development of her work attempts to focus away from a traditionally Western, analytical logic of form, and to lead back toward the pre-logical and archaeological sources of conceiving, perceiving and making. Among the early hunting cultures, art arose specifically from the links between finding and making. The most archaic cave paintings from Lascaux and Altamira are intimately related to the actual contours of the rock walls on which they are painted. Conceptually, they

  • Washington

    Heralding the “marriage of art and science” as the possibility of “new ways in which the work of art and the public may come together,” Gyorgy Kepes, director of M.I.T.’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies and organizer of “Explorations—Toward a Civic Art” (seen recently at the Smithsonian’s National Collection of Fine Arts), conceived of the whole affair as an environmental community of objects, interdependent and interacting with each other, their makers, and the public. Roughly twenty artists and many scientists and technicians collaborated in this venture. I say “roughly,” since there were

  • Milton Avery

    The relevance of Milton Avery’s work stems not only from the fact that he contributed personally to the Abstract Expressionist generation through his long-standing friendships with Gottlieb and Rothko, but that the simplicity, dignity, and tact of a vision which made use of large areas of soft flat color, firmly but modestly organized into nearly abstract compositions, is still pertinent to much contemporary painting. These were the constant and basic materials with which Avery had worked for his entire career, spanning almost forty years (he died in 1965). The Brooklyn show was not hung

  • Robert Goodnough

    Robert Goodnough, in each successive exhibition, displays more reduced and spare paintings which show the slow, careful, almost painful metamorphosis of a single-minded esthetic. The present group of works are almost all limited to very close values of pale grey, white, and beige on buff-colored unprimed canvas fields. Thin, diamond-shaped slivers of a generally small, uniform size flutter like faceted clouds or like leaves blown by a sudden gust of wind in diagonal currents across the canvases. The erratic silhouettes of these clouds fuse softly with the grounds, creating delicate contrasts

  • “Beautiful Painting”

    The first pictures encountered in the “Beautiful Painting” galleries are those of Harvey Quaytman. His assembled paintings call to mind some of the more geometrical/sculptural works familiar to the Park Place idiom of a few years back (Novros, Ruda, Myers, et al.), to which they most likely refer in concept. Quaytman uses bilateral symmetry in one of the major pieces, M. Thonnet’s Tonic, playing off the curving contours of two blackened canvas panels which fan outward from the uppermost points of an axis or fulcrum formed by two right-angled brackets (of painted fiberglass, coating wood or

  • Ray Parker

    Ray Parker is a painter who gained a certain strength of reputation based on the way he was able to extract himself from the more derivative phases of late Abstract Expressionism. By 1958–9, Parker was painting loaf-like suspended forms in muted colors on neutral grounds. His pictures evoked a light, hovering sense of spatial liberation in a period when only a few other young painters were able to pry themselves loose from the stale drips and spatters of 10th Street painting. Since 1965, Parker has worked with hard-edged mobile strands in crisp, even-keyed colors, dispersed over bright monochrome