Jeanne Silverthorne

  • Judith Shea

    There is a distinct strain of sabotaged utilitarianism in the work of certain contemporary women artists—Pat Lasch’s inedible cakes, Cynthia Carlson’s handmade homages to mass-produced wallpaper, Miriam Shapiro’s labor-intensive unusable kimonos, and, lately, Patsy Norvell’s greenhouse gazebo, placed indoors where real flowers could not be expected to survive.

    Judith Shea’s vests, tunics, pants, and stockings are both unwearable and unfinished. Not-yet-ready-to-wear made of materials usually reserved for linings, they are either too fragile, or, in the case of a pair of cowhide shorts, too rugged

  • Gaylen Hansen

    Strapped down, tied up—the motif of binding, like the repressed, returns eternally in Gaylen Hansen’s primitively rendered images. Binding for protection, yes, against a world completely out of joint, lunatic and often sterile. The full moon waxes steadily from painting to painting. Dogs, mad, one infers, are straight-jacketed in crisscrossing strips like malevolent babies wrapped in their own umbilical cords. In one of these two Bound Dog works, straps stave the background as well, jailing the canine and gift wrapping the canvas. Hansen’s vision of culture is pessimistic. He sees civilizations,

  • Francis Bacon

    The thing about Francis Bacon is that he’s an original. Who knows where he gets his bizarre notions of space or anatomy? Why are his people’s faces interrupted by floating discs that sometimes rest in places (where they act as natural sockets) but often don’t? What about those omnipresent shadows? Why does a naked man lock a door with the key held between his toes?

    Actually, the last question is answerable, or at least discussable. The acrobatic doorman is a perfect example of Bacon’s economy, here in the service of narration. The balletic sweep of leg compresses the fact of locking out the

  • Maureen Connor

    Maureen Connor divided “Linens” into two parts: fabric used metaphorically and fabric used literally. There is consistent comparison of unlike things—of linen organdy (starched, pleated, and shaped by folding, basting, or pinning) to a cockscomb, or a rose, or a waterfall. Not surprisingly, this sort of allusiveness engenders response in kind—simile. Witness the type of critical reaction Connor’s show has prompted: it’s like wandering into a house whose inhabitants have gone away and covered up the furniture; it looks like the old-fashioned linen displays once popular in department stores;

  • Alex Katz

    Donald Kuspit has already noted the “doppelgängers” in the recent work of Alex Katz, seeing them as “a way of suggesting a tentative opposition where there seems only unified image.” The opposition may be “tentative” because, finally, Katz believes, strangely for such a secularist, in an almost mystical oneness. There are not only twins in Katz’ paintings; all his characters look like siblings, members of the family Stonewaller. This and their famous flattened-out quality make it clear that Katz is rejecting what Robbe-Grillet calls “the myth of depth.” Art, he says, is all surface. (Why else

  • Jo Baer and Bruce Robbins

    Established in the ’60s and ’70s as a Minimalist of great formal rigor, Jo Baer has gone from hard-edged to organic, from contained and carefully graduated color to scumbled hue, from four-inch thick stretchers to unstretched canvas hung from cardboard tubes. “To change one’s habits has the smell of death,” goes a Portuguese proverb, but for Baer “style is the dress of thought,” and she has merely put a new one over her own body of ideas.

    Carter Ratcliff, writing about Baer’s work in Artforum in 1972, remarked on two concerns that have remained constant: “doubleness” and “the equation of what is

  • Peter Blume

    Peter Blume’s style might be healthier for a little change. It’s hard to keep the word “corny” out of a discussion of some of his productions. Perhaps the most difficult thing for an artist to know is when going against the current is brave and useful and when it is only blind. Blume’s work has looked the same since 1940, a phlegmatic, flatfooted realism that manages to make the mural in a 1969 homage to the artists who restored flood-damaged Florence look like a WPA project. Do any artists wear smocks anymore? These do. It’s amazing that they left their berets at home. Recollection of the Flood

  • Lydia Hunn

    Could there be such a thing as “New Image Sculpture”? Richard Marshall’s catalogue for the 1979 Whitney show, to rephrase it somewhat, advertised Imagist painting as representation under new management: realism pensioned off; abstraction hired as consultant. True to inflated times and a pinched economy, the new image has been cut back, pruned of all but the most essential identifying characteristics, yet it remains “emotive,” psychological and highly suggestive if sometimes mysterious. Consider, in this light, the “Flashers” of Rosemarie Castoro, the cradles and ladders of Harmony Hammond, the

  • Robert Younger

    One of the reasons why these props function so well as sculpture (apart from an innate integrity) is that they have been objectified, ceased to function as contributors to a setting. Physically separated (although the toasters are grouped together, as are the houses), given breathing space—the chair has even been hung on the wall—their isolation serves to help make them emblematic. As Roberta Smith points out, however, the solitary shape(s) on a unified field to which this is analogous was only half the story of the Whitney presentation. The other half, featuring “Jenny, Zucker, Bartlett, and