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

  • Edward Kienholz

    If Edward Kienholz had sprung upon us his latest body of work two or three (or especially more) years ago, it is uncertain whether many would have rushed to buy it, whole or piecemeal. What is so fascinating about the dauntlessly cheerful willingness of his public to barter for his hundreds of new watercolors is that Kienholz has negotiated a preposterously brazen and entirely characteristic deal, openly, largely by timing himself right. He is acquiring lots of money and, to boot, most of the possessions he might otherwise have to purchase with it, by trading on a current esthetic vagary: “

  • Ron Cooper

    It’s taken longer than it should have for Ron Cooper’s work to be shown, not piecemeal in gallery back rooms or in a Plastic Group show context, but on its own. Cooper has worked well and long enough now to merit serious attention—the problem with him is perhaps that the odd retreatingness and quiescence of his art make it seem at first unevolved, rather maddeningly bland, or not satisfyingly stylistic. One doesn’t easily see what’s there. Coming into his present one-man show at the Ace Gallery, for example, I was at first left rather cold by the mildness of its appearance. The four box-like

  • William Pettet

    The eminently dramatic appearance of William Pettet’s “mature” (at twenty-five) style on the Los Angeles scene came last summer in the form of scores of large canvases painted within four months time. There was suddenly this hugely efflorescent, opulent, sometimes sinister and, one suspected, accidentally achieved collection of wetly painted, air-blown curiosities; they seemed initially to have little to do with any L.A. esthetic “tradition,” at first recalling Louis and Olitski, but with none of their coolly arrived at, and reassuring, sense of ballast. Out of the approximately 30 works I

  • 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

  • Barry Le Va: Distributional Sculpture

    WITHIN A TWO AND A half year period, from early 1966 to the present, Barry Le Va’s art has traced out a personal stylistic history of extraordinary repleteness. If his assumptions and terms are problematical and sometimes difficult to accept, they are eminently worth examining. In defining Le Va’s stylistic progression, several factors which evolved simultaneously must be considered: types of materials used, size and number of components, size of overall format, use of color, and approach to internal organization of parts. The successive decisions made with respect to each of these elements

  • 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

  • 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

  • “Plastics: L.A.”

    “Plastics: L.A.,” an exhibition organized by Fidel Danieli for California State College at Los Angeles, runs from the superlative to the negligible, with a great deal in between. It is almost uniformly characterized by the most highly refined workmanship. The conspicuous exception is a peculiar work by Robert Fay Marks which incorporates a large, slightly dog eared piece of cardboard. Marks seems to be taking his departure from Ron Davis’s difficult illusionistic paintings, an example of which stands here as a keystone in relation to many of the works surrounding it.

    Yet there is a profound

  • “Speed Sculpture”

    Six motorcycles, one turbine dragster, two chrome-plated sculptures by David Gray and three works by Billy Al Bengston—a 1967 Dento and two carburetor paintings from 1961—are on display at the Pomona College Art Gallery under the title “Speed Sculpture.” Bengston, who is an expert on motorcycles, selected the pieces for this display, basing his choices on sheerly pragmatic criteria and making no claims that they are indeed works of art, either by virtue of his having chosen them or of any intrinsic qualities. For instance, a Honda Superhawk is included as an example of a safe, multi-purpose

  • Antony Donaldson

    At Nicholas Wilder, British painter Antony Donaldson is showing six of the canvases executed during his year’s stay in Los Angeles. Donaldson has looked hard at the ornate insides of our ubiquitous ’30s movie houses; he has responded to Lichtenstein’s backward glance to the same era; and he can’t have missed the move into so-called “Abstract Illusionism,” particularly as manifested in the recent painting of Miriam Schapiro. But his is not merely one more case of a young English artist shaping one or another current American fashion into an uninspired esthetic commodity; he is an ambitious,

  • Sam Richardson

    Sculptor Sam Richardson, showing at the Esther-Robles Gallery, deserves more than one might grant him, considering only his most recent and most ambitious Real Estate, which is really a project rather than a “piece.” It is composed of 16 square-foot plots of rolling terrain, made of smooth cast epoxy. The segments that include (besides grassy green surface) furrowed ground, removable plastic puddles or even part of the bifurcated foam cloud will be thought more desirable than the squares of unembellished acreage. Thus their holders, when the project has finally gone to separate hands, will rate

  • Anthony Berlant

    Anthony Berlant attained a measure of notoriety during his inveterate tinkering phase (with patterned metal scraps fashioned into noisome little reliquaries). This obsession, worshipful as it was of the puerile and the innocent, seemed affecting only after having witnessed the artist absorbed among his rusty collections of trivia, looming in piles from cookie tins. The process of gathering, clipping, editing and assembling his inane materials contained more animus than the finished results, whether merely whimsical (as most were) or didactically pretentious (the wargames). Obviously this was

  • 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

  • Cézanne Watercolors

    Cézanne has been approached so often by way of interpretive historical analysis and re-analysis that the pattern has apparently become irreversible. Thus John Coplans, writing in conjunction with his exhibition of Cézanne watercolors at the Pasadena Art Museum, says, “Cézanne’s discoveries led to the Cubist structure and finally into the art, for example, of de Kooning and Kline. Monet’s art, on the other hand, became the genesis for Pollock and the field painters, in particular, Newman, Still and Rothko, with such artists as Guston and Hofmann, for example, straddling both aspects. Thus Monet’s