Jane Livingston

  • Los Angeles: Barbara Munger

    WHOEVER HAS GAINED FAMILIARITY with a particular line of southern California art—specifically with the work of Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, Michael Asher, James Turrell, and Doug Wheeler—knows a special range of esthetic possibilities for the alterability of space by diffused light. Those artists have generally rejected the manner of physical sculptural priorities formally describable by such binary concepts as outthrusting/implosion, expansion/contraction, opening/closing, effluence/containment, etc. The usages of such oppositions apply most aptly, within the modern framework, to Constructivist

  • Ay-O

    The opening exhibition at Gallery 669—operated by a former manager of the Minami Gallery in Tokyo—is an environment of rainbow-striped objects and perforated boxes by Japanese artist Ay-O. It is called Tactile Rainbow #6. The “Rainbow” refers to a selection of ready-made items like plates, cups, spoons, matches, ashtrays, etc., painted with colored stripes, a series of “paintings” (these are striated all over, including the frames), and three Life Magazine covers with arbitrary sections of the photographic design painted in the same bright spectral patterns. Two of the covers represent American

  • Anthony Caro, John Hoyland, Bryan Kneale, John Carter, Tim Scott, Derrick Woodham, Nigel Hall, Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Allen Jones, Kitaj, Laing, Paolozzi, Peter Phillips and more

    The only optimistic view that an interested local observer can take of the Whitechapel Gallery’s New British Painting and Sculpture exhibition at UCLA is that it administers a potent shot in the arm to Los Angeles; after a first unedifying run through the show, one comes out at the other end with fresh confidence in the seriousness, originality and refinement of our own vanguard artists.

    Of the seventeen artists represented here, only two—Anthony Caro and Bryan Kneale—suggest a respectable enterprise. Kneale’s Cumae, composed fundamentally of three aluminum discs, two perspex bubbles and a

  • John McCracken, Craig Kauffman, Ed Ruscha and Llyn Foulkes

    In its ten years of existence, the Paris Biennale (Manifestation Biennale et Internationale des jeunes artistes) has incurred a reputation in the United States for ignominy, extending even beyond the prevalent critical tendency here to either ignore or imprecate the international “competitions,” including those at Venice, Sao Paulo and Pittsburgh. In the face of what Max Kozloff has called the “piggish provinces” of the Biennales in general, it is perhaps rhetorical to demand of our U.S. commissioners to the Paris competition that they rise above the aura of provincialism that so often characterizes

  • John Battenberg

    At the Esther-Robles Gallery, John Battenberg’s latest angle on World War I aviation—focusing now more on the machines than on their intrepid pilots—makes for an extraordinarily handsome and impressive display. The pivotal work here is transitional, placing the familiar skeletal cast aluminum flyer within his plane, which. is suspended parallel to the wall on a vertical course. The machine (Full Detail—Fokker Dr 1, 96 x 72”) is given as a truncated section of fuselage and wings around the open cockpit, formed beautifully by stretching canvas tautly over a plywood frame, covering this with

  • Clark Murray

    Hard edges—even in the overfamiliar sense of the term—are neither dead nor dying. They are vibrantly alive in eight new wall sculptures by Clark Murray at Nicholas Wilder. These are of rolled steel, varying from approximately eight to ten feet in length, and are monochromed with red, orange, blue, green, yellow or black sprayed paint. Though they are closely related to Murray’s modified wedge shaped pieces that were shown here last year, there are a few crucial differences. First, the earlier glossy finish has been toned down to a uniform matte surface, which eliminates distracting reflections

  • Wally Hendrick and Sam Tchakalian

    San Francisco painters Wally Hendrick and Sam Tchakalian are being shown in limited retrospective fashion at the Fine Arts Pavilion in Balboa. It is a curious exhibition, both for the juxtaposition of artists and, in the case of Hedrick, for the selection of works. The well-illustrated catalog, with essays by Fred Martin and Gerald Nordland, offers scarcely a clue to the mystery.

    Fred Martin’s respectful essay on Hedrick must have been written with the advance purpose of conciliating a baffled audience. He is certainly aware that Hedrick’s work cannot possibly be taken seriously in the way which

  • Peter Stroud and John McCracken

    Peter Stroud continues to make relief paintings in emulsion on masonite. However, his recent works can no longer fittingly be called “hard-edge abstractions” as they were, appropriately, only a few years ago when Stroud was one of the “rising newer talents” in England.

    Stroud’s paintings, now at Nicholas Wilder, are basically involved more with color and a sort of linear-spatial elasticity than with edges as such. There are two basic formats in this group, and a radical variance in scale. The largest paintings (up to about 8 by 9 feet) are five-sided. There is one in red with pink ridges and one

  • Martial Raysse

    French artist Martial Raysse is shown at the Dwan Gallery. Raysse is an exponent of the Pop art vocabulary, not as we have come to think of it but transposed into a quintessential French idiom. Stepping into the gallery from the insolent, high-pitched commercial atmosphere of Los Angeles, one is stimulated to a fascinating sequence of speculation about the culture just outside in contrast with the distilled view of popular French culture within.

    The striking distinction is between Raysse’s febrile, exacerbated ultra-preciosity and the American Pop culture’s untrammeled innocence in vulgarity.

  • Marilyn Lasarow

    Marilyn Lasarow, in her group of enamel-sprayed plexiglass paintings at Herbert Palmer, demonstrates that precise craftsmanship goes a long way indeed toward predisposing the critical eye in the artist’s favor. These Constructivist-inspired works, which she calls polyoptics, fall short of complete success largely on account of a tendency to overstatement.

    Nearly all the works shown here are serial permutations of interlocking solid or striped geometric shapes, floating against clean monotonal color fields. Delimited thus, they are immediately perceived as emblems. Polyoptic Stripe #9 is one of

  • Los Angeles

    A very nice group of new paintings by Joe Goode are hung exceptionally low to the ground at Nicholas Wilder. The works show Goode to have returned wholeheartedly to a full and subtle palette after a rather prolonged predominantly black, white and grey period; the present canvases are really color paintings, with the imagery (mostly fragments of sheets and pillows, like the ones seen here last year in drawing form) superposed abruptly on inflected fields of oil paint. There is no point in laboring a comparison of his milk bottles, houses, spoons, or clouds with the sheet/pillows; all are basically

  • Iain Baxter

    Iain Baxter, or, as he advertises himself, the N. E. Thing Company, is back in Los Angeles this year with five new “inflatables” at the Gallery 669. Judging alone from this exhibition, or even from his appearances here collectively, it would be awfully difficult to understand the claims that some seem to be making for him as single-handedly providing witness of a sudden great swell of fresh and serious artistic talent in Western Canada. This phenomenon becomes slightly more comprehensible when one grasps the indefatigability with which the N. E. Thing Co. is promoting itself as the quintessence

  • Roy Lichtenstein

    That Roy Lichtenstein’s backs of canvases are something of a throwback to an earlier approach comes initially both as a relief and a vague disappointment, weary as we are on the one hand of ’30s moderne, and, on the other, secretly expectant of yet another delectable surprise. But one can only account to himself for secretly indulged tastes up to a point, and Lichtenstein, it now appears, is clever enough to measure out his soft insults with reserve. The new works, of which the Irving Blum Gallery shows six, are basically dot paintings in only three colors, black, white and yellow. They are

  • Tom Holland

    Tom Holland’s group of shaped fiberglass paintings at Nicholas Wilder adds one more to the handful of remarkable one-man shows of local art seen here over the past year. Holland is an “important” painter only within limited and self-imposed terms, since he refuses to enter into any collective problem-solving esthetic syndrome. If his art has qualities of crudeness and perishability partly for their own sake, it is not because the artist is Making a Point about these things. What he does purvey in his semi-abstract uses of muddy, pied surfaces and flimsy shapes is that “formal elements” in painting

  • Chuck Prentiss

    Chuck Prentiss is a young Los Angeles artist and an accomplished technician whose kinetic light sculpture suffers, simply, from the generic malady of this enterprise, which is to say that, observing his pieces, one is as much interested in the mechanism as in the effect. However, it would be unfair to dismiss his kinetic light constructions out of hand on this basis. Prentiss achieves extraordinary illusionistic appearances with ingenious and yet relatively uncomplicated means. All the works now at Esther Robles are boxes, none measuring more than about 2 1/2 by 3 feet; they have coated glass

  • Magic Theater

    As a coherent presentation of an art which is overpoweringly theatrical, an environmental art which literally assaults the eye, the ear and the skin, and as a nominally esthetic array of complex, skillfully crafted technological devices, Ralph T. Coe’s Magic Theater at Kansas City’s Nelson Gallery surpassed anything of its kind that I had ever seen. This was the third and by far the most ambitious of Coe’s “psychic art” shows, though most of the eight artists represented had figured in his earlier productions. Having been more or less familiar with the work of each, and having in advance read

  • Robert Frémont

    At Esther-Robles, California artist Robert Frémont is having another exhibition of clever, colorful oils and drawings. There is a great deal of spoofing—plays on words in French and English, recurrent Pop banalities and a few semi-scatological references. Frémont doesn’t really belong to American Pop art genealogy, however, and his Surrealist-symbolist French origins show themselves in a number of ways. The ascendant stylistic influence comes from Chagall, in the way of stained-glass color applied in flats, compartmented composition and even a few idiomatic borrowings such as winged females and

  • Melvin Schuler

    At Ankrum, northern California sculptor Melvin Schuler is having his first L.A. exhibition. He works in wood, mostly black walnut waxed to a handsome finish, and builds both freestanding monoliths (usually with more than one component) and bolted constructions. They range in height from about four to nearly seven feet. The monolithic pieces show a strong feeling for proportion and balance, or imbalance, but apart from a few really engaging ones in which solid, roughly squarish chunks are unevenly superimposed in heavily precarious stacks (Tall Form), they tend to call too much attention to their

  • Bernard Cohen

    Bernard Cohen has at least temporarily set aside his fragile, semi-Surreal figural mode (represented here last year in a series of drawings) to experiment in lyrical color and abstract shapes and patterns. His twenty-two tiny acrylics (about 4'' x 6'') at Ceeje. are surely conceived more in the spirit of experimentation than as matter for lasting preoccupation. They obviously call for close-range scrutiny, and one is reminded, if not for the first time, of the astonishing power of scale alone to control modes of visual apprehension. There is a certain immediate attractiveness in these delicate

  • Robert Chuey

    Robert Chuey’s impressions of a recent visit to the Swiss Alps, in the form of fourteen energetic, Expressionistic oil paintings and a number of drawings, are at Fleischer/Anhalt. In eleven of the large oils, Chuey works for the first time in black and white. They all deal with groups of crystalline planes and surfaces: even areas suggesting the flow of glacial masses are densely broken up. Landscape at Eiger is the most remarkable of these, having a boldness and all-over drive that the others lack. The angular forms seem in some places to push upward, and in others to tumble diagonally down