Emily Wasserman

  • Corcoran Biennial

    The 31st Corcoran Biennial abandoned its traditional juried selection this year under the direction of James Harithas, who limited both the number and choice of participants according to his unilateral decision. Congratulations are due Mr. Harithas for the administrative triumph of the Biennial—he organized the show around younger artists, mostly abstractionists of differing persuasions, and practically all unknown in the Washington area. Few of the 22 painters have been seen in one-man or even group shows, although several of the older participants have had previous exposure on a limited basis.

  • Donald Judd

    Two sculptures by Donald Judd at the Leo Castelli Gallery clarified for me some vague feelings of physical incompleteness and ideological limitation which his large Whitney retrospective last year had suggested. The work looked impressive, spare, and often extraordinarily lucid or elegant, but this with a very bounded sense accomplishment to my eye—as if many half-embodied or half-considered concepts were efficiently cloaked by the technologically clean-cut geometric boxes and fabricated modular units typical of Judd’s mature work. Although he has advocated the abandonment of composition in an

  • John Chamberlain

    The perfect and appropriate setting for a small retrospective of John Chamberlain’s work was the Leo Castelli warehouse on West 108th Street, an immense, concrete floor garage space lacking all the parquet or red-carpeted elegance and cloistered feeling of the downtown gallery, or of galleries in general. Scattered around were a number of wall and floor pieces—the well-known automobile parts crammed and jammed into muscular, abstract conglomerates, lacquered metal shards, a big twisted urethane foam work from 1966, and a room filled with the newer collapsed galvanized zinc sculptures made from

  • John McCracken

    At the Robert Elkon Gallery, slightly confused visitors walked among seven sets of mute, white, rectangular plywood boxes which flanked the length of the single room, asking where the John McCracken show could be seen. To viewers who have been accustomed to the lustrous polish of McCracken’s elegant epoxy-finished planks, richly coated with appealing colors like plum or lipstick red, the neutrality and unglamorous coolness of these constructed modular forms is quietly unsettling. Spaced 58 inches apart across the length of the gallery floor and reaching over seven feet in height, the columnar

  • George Segal

    For anyone familiar with George Segal’s plaster-peopled environments, there was more of the familiar in this year’s showing at the Sidney Janis Gallery. Though descended from the disorganized variety and excitement of the early Happenings, the new arrangements and neat variations of setting begin to look more and more trivial—and less than ever as if anything is really happening. I still find Segal’s plaster casts and cropped environments awkwardly achieved even at their most psychologically haunting or arresting. Earlier works often benefited from this very awkward element in the starkness and

  • Ruth Vollmer

    Ruth Vollmer showed her sculptural explorations of the sphere at the Betty Parsons Gallery. Diluted post-Bauhaus, warmed over into modestly scaled modern Minimal, was the overall look of the models and large pieces. Although elegant, well-made and cleverly conceived, there was little else which raised these works above the rather mechanical exercises in organization and dynamics (some of the pieces float or rock, or suggest variability) which they appear to be. What was best demonstrated is that a bit of sophistication and good fabricating can go a long way these days to accomplish a look which

  • James Bishop

    That Jim Bishop has lived away from the United States for the past decade (he has been painting in Paris) accounts, I think, for the sense of private, circumscribed ambition and of a self-exploratory enterprise which one feels upon viewing his paintings. Work from the past two years shown at the Fischbach Gallery reveals that Bishop has not particularly cared to keen pace with the blown-up scaling and brilliant, hard-edge color fields which emerged in the work of other American painters who had worked in Paris (Kelly, Held, Noland) and in the post-Abstract Expressionist paintings done here in

  • William King

    At the Dintenfass Gallery, William King’s latest aluminum figures looked like giant cookie cutouts, combining a stylized formalism with the humorous caricature which was more typical of his earlier vinyl and burlap stuffed models and carved wooden figure groups. Now working in half-inch-thick sheet aluminum, King has made his anonymous interpenetrating silhouettes less specific to the features and characterization of the human form. This kind of generalization is often quite effective, as in the large pair called Learning, where the elongated legs of a man bending over to hold a little girl’s

  • Alan Saret

    After plodding around, for the better part of the last year or so, through sundry heaps of minimal monuments and dirt piles, flailing plastic biomorphs, sodden or silly polychrome wiggles, and uninspired planks and boxes, I was beginning to think that the prospects for a sculptural renaissance were pretty slim. Recently, several one-man shows by artists under the age of thirty have suggested, to the contrary, that some fresh ideas are circulating again, making for a lively and inventive new group of objects, sculptures, and in-betweens.

    “Mountains of Chance, Documents of Ruralism . . . Changing

  • Christopher Wilmarth, Eva Hesse, and Paul Brach

    Another newcomer was Christopher Wilmarth, with his first show at the Graham Gallery. He proves adept at both wall-relief and floor-based sculptures done in a satisfying though unexpected combination of softly polished light birchwood and plate glass. The bulk and apparent weight of the wooden volumes and extended masses are contrasted with the transparency and vulnerability of the glass—but both of these traditional or known “truth to materials” qualities are actually contradicted or modified by the specific way in which Wilmarth has chosen to use the glass and wood. The latter is shaped into

  • Paul Caponigro and Duane Michals

    A show at the Museum of Modern Art reviewed the current work of a young American, Paul Caponigro, whose photographs were recently published in a monograph by Aperture. Caponigro spent a year in England and Ireland photographing Stonehenge, Druid’s altars, megalithic stone circles and dolmens. He aimed to involve himself emotionally with the process and human activity which went into their formation. In this sense he brings a much greater commitment and almost moral obligation to these impeccably printed and elegantly composed pictures than he does to his earlier intimate studies of flowers,

  • Al Held

    What looked to me at first like a radical departure from his own previous work turned out to be quite in keeping with it, and a development from the thinking which has sustained Al Held’s painting for the past several years. In his show at the Emmerich Gallery, Held’s black and white canvases seemed to me peculiarly stark but emotionally complex, sometimes overly clever, though not tricky, and yet adventurous and tough. They combine elements of the dramatic Abstract Expressionist sensibility which Held still nurtures, with a calculated, stubborn intellect not given to producing easily accessible