Jeff Perone

  • Sam Francis

    Like a flash of calculated good taste and class, the first painting opens out on the periphery like a high dynasty Chinese scroll. The familiar wide-tracked areas of water splashed with aqueous color skew across the immaculate white with energy and grace. If you are an artist looking for a great mix, that’s one of the best. SAM FRANCIS’ elegant composition would be more indebted to Kline if it didn’t seem so easy and offhand. There is little room here for constant, meticulous adjustments, especially with Francis’ noncorrectable stain and spread techniques. The simplifications, the changings of

  • Bernar Venet

    As everyone must know by now, there are artists who “simply” stopped bothering with an “art style” and present “science,” not as “science as art,” but as “thing.” I write “art style” because it is not art which is eliminated (never is art more present than when it has been done away with) but the seduction of its style. BERNAR VENET has always seemed to want to be as little the artist as possible, and in this ambition he succeeds quite well. However, in Jan van der Marck’s “Bernar Venet and the Rational Image” (Artforum, Jan, 1979), one can learn that Venet is in the process of taking “a second

  • Lynn Umlauf

    Into this history falls LYNN UMLAUF. Both Peri’s and her shapes are impossible to describe although they feel “right.” Geometric in the widest, most fluid sense of the word, the shapes approach the figural and the movement of a figure without losing their identities as “just shapes.” Umlauf’s “reliefs” are very flat, made of paper laid on canvas tacked nonchalantly to the wall so their material irregularities give an illusion of volume without depth. Peri achieves a complex under-over, flapping hide-and-seek, front-and-back intrigue by a puzzling figure-ground play of simple color and odd, spikey

  • Gordon Hart

    GORDON HART’s “new” paintings look like his last ones—colored fields with bars coming out from the sides at regular intervals. There is one with three panels where the fields and the bars are black with differences between them indicated by the contrasting dullness or shininess of the paint surface. There is a three-panel painting with blue fields and bars, all of which look identical to me. There is a two-panel painting which looks Rothkoesque—the variations are spelled out in very close-valued and intense reds and red-oranges. There is a small painting with blue, smokey pink and

  • Ed Moses

    The titles of the first three paintings in Ed Moses’ show are R-1, Y-1, B-1. What additional information do you need? Obviously, one is going to be red, one yellow, one blue—three square canvases, each all one primary color. I think the paint is car enamel, but the paintings look like refrigerator doors, not car doors. The paint is rather like Poptarts icing—slick, smooth, chemical, stopping at the edge, flat and in-penetrable. You couldn’t will any depth into them. There is a layeredness in Marden’s work that gives an ambiguous shallowness. There are crosses in Reinhardt. There is an absolute

  • Alan Cote

    Carrie Rickey, a writer whose opinions I often overlook (even when I agree with her) in order to savor her well-turned phrases, is a stylist in search of a subject. I went to Alan Cote’s show knowing what Rickey had written about him. What was interesting to read became so much stylish fluff when confronted with the paintings themselves. The twist: this perfectly fit Cote’s paintings, in an ironic, perhaps unconscious way. Rickey unknowingly reflected her subject’s basic appeal, through her style. Her title: “Fashion/Style/Custom.” Her case: Cote is not fashionable, after explaining in many

  • Robert Mapplethorpe

    Robert Mapplethorpe was on my review list about three years ago, showing at a crummy alternative space in SoHo. His medium of expression was photography, but all I could see were the frames. I remember one with a Chinese red lacquer frame that continued on and on at regular intervals off the righthand side, the frame repeated as spaced bars painted to simulate the rainbow. The penises and buttocks didn’t seem to the point somehow (once you’ve seen one . . .). I’m not being coy; I’m dead serious. My honest response to Mapplethorpe’s calculated attempt to show the unshowable so that, coerced by

  • Hollis Sigler

    Frames—the ambiguous area between art and the world, separating the two and binding them together. As an artist you either accept the frame as manifest destiny, territorial imperative, a container, or you play with it. But you cannot eliminate it, for it just returns in another disguise. The frame is the tenacious constant.

    In Hollis Sigler’s They Always Get You Where You Live, a cat walks “across” one of the frames. Frames in Sigler’s drawings are prefaces for serious play. They aren’t just there; they’re elaborated and broadened, nearly part of the image, being made of the same pictorial and

  • Joan Brown

    Joan Brown’s two travel paintings have this scary effect. They were inspired by a trip to South America, but they could be voyages to anywhere unknown. Traveling dislocates, sending the body out into a void, surrounding it with a space that closes off the view, focusing on the body as a center. One painting has a ship in the center; the other, an airplane. Out from these small images, tight coils, short, accumulated trails of paint, are whipped into tornadoes, establishing a foreign territory, a body hurtling through space at the speed of flight—or, more dreadfully, the mind made anxious by the

  • Adolf Gottlieb

    Two paintings in the Adolf Gottlieb exhibition made the whole thing worthwhile. The other works were accomplished but uninteresting pictographs with cartoony pointing fingers, squishy hands, fishy phallic eyes, and portentous, ambiguous symbols. They probably looked better when they were first exhibited, when they might have seemed at least startlingly grotesque. Gottlieb uses the grid not as a formal device, but as a weird pictorial row of shelves to place images on. The grid as a formal structure did not have the kind of power then that artists now claim for it. Gottlieb thankfully fills the

  • Jenny Snider

    The reason so many of us find a lot to criticize in current art is not that we set intolerably high standards. Mostly, the art sets its own standards and ambitions and asks to be judged by them. These ambitions are likely to be bigger than the artist can handle. The challenge is rarely met. There is undoubtedly grandeur in failing at a very high level. But witnessing artist after artist banging his or her head against the wall is sad, defeating and demoralizing.

    So what a refreshing change to stumble across Jenny Snider’s small crayon drawings. Suddenly, more down-to-earth projects seem possible,

  • Frank Faulkner

    Is pattern painting dead? Tom Marioni has recently written that it “will end as fast as Op Art did.” A number of prominent pattern painters won’t publicly discuss the issue anymore (it’s old news) and prefer “decorative”—although even that word is losing its anti-formalist effectiveness. The really important kill-off, the signal that pattern is ready to be scrapped: one room of the Whitney Biennial is devoted to pattern-decoration-banner-architecture art (Joyce Kozloff, Kim MacConnell, Rodney Ripps). When it’s come this far in its institutionalization, hasn’t it got to be nearly over?

    Frank

  • Nancy Graves

    Nancy Graves is best known to me for her meticulous re-creations of camels and “prehistoric” animals. Whole rooms, like archeological sites, would be strewn with bones and skeletons. As sculpture opposing the then-reigning Minimalism, these could reclaim a certain “organic” structure, though they did so through the ancient traces of animals—an anthropologist’s view of the past. Such subject matter intensified the “primitive” aspect of Graves’ contribution to more anti-industrial post-Minimalism. The high art plugs were made quite clear: Pollock through Hesse and Smithson. It was an honest attempt

  • James Juszczyk

    I know an ex-art critic who’s now an artist. As a writer, he used to wail and thrash at artists’ pompous rhetoric—especially when they wrote or spoke of their “concerns.” I think that was the worst: artists explaining their “intentions” is the slipperiest of commodities. Perhaps trafficking in it should be restricted to professionals. (Art critics do, of course, a good under-the-counter trade in intentions. When purposes become dogma rather than immanent argument, critics also read like pompous, ridiculous . . . artists.) My ex-critic, as an artist, is now obliged to write of his intentions.

  • David Budd

    One offers a description in a review—something that might be missed in the reproduction. The review acts within the area of possible error; what you see is not always what was there—especially in a photograph of an art object. This area may be elucidated by describing David Budd’s paintings. He has painted a set of all-blue paintings. Painted with a palette knife in thick, fingernaillike strokes from left to right, they all appeared pretty much the same, being manufactured in a similar fashion. They were about three-and-a-half, maybe four feet, roughly square. The only complication arose in the

  • Elizabeth Murray

    Elizabeth Murray’s new paintings seem to polarize people into opposing camps, and they have a way of polarizing the viewer within himself. Their intensity rubs off on you, and you can’t help but feel very strongly about them. It may not even be a matter of liking them or not; they have a force worth reckoning with, and they demand to be taken seriously. Murray seems to have developed her art quite independently, outside of any established style; the work gets increasingly idiosyncratic and eccentric in every way, probably to sustain an extremely dynamic level of emotional expressiveness.

    Part of

  • Jackson Pollock

    Coinciding with the Yale University Press publication of a four-volume, $250 catalogue raisonné of the works of Jackson Pollock, a group of various paintings, prints and drawings called “new found” were selected by Francis O’Connor for an accompanying show. None of these works is “new found,” if that means that no one knew it existed. Also, all were known to be Pollocks by their owners, and over half of them come from Lee Krasner’s collection. The label “new found” really signifies “never exhibited” or “never photographed.” Francis O’Connor, an art historian, and Eugene Thaw, a dealer, spent