Jeff Perrone

  • “(photo) (photo)2 (photo)n: Sequenced Photographs”

    What are the things on the wall and the floor? They are called photographs, but forget the official exhibition title and really look at the things. There are works I would have sworn were paintings (they are, after all, referred to as so many “panels”) and look quite painterly; some look like regular ol’ Conceptual pieces. I mean, do you think Wegman really cares about photography as a medium? Some look like poor man’s cinema (we get to look at the frames one by one, unprojected) or perhaps good magazine illustrations of video pieces. This is something called “(photo) (photo)2 (photo)n: Sequenced

  • “MFA Candidates”

    Not much attention is given to the “class” of art I am thinking of. Generally, if I am interested in a show, it is a group show. Most artists work on their own small’ problems in more or less tiring permutations which I find difficult to digest in one-person shows (unless the artist is particularly good). Group shows seem inherently more interesting simply because they offer more variety. Finding common bonds (or, as the case may be, common errors) among disparate works that are produced in the same milieu is more challenging than mere labeling—boxing artists in the latest chic categories. I am

  • “Summer '75 Group Show”

    It’s probably presumptuous to assume that a few years ago all the people in the “Summer Group ’75 Show” were in an MFA exhibit, but I bet they were. In the meantime it looks as if they’ve either been to New York (for a little roughening up) or to L A (for a trip through the car wash to get all shined up). It looks as though Susan Whyne went to L A; her fake photo-Realism is certainly bizarre enough, like a Woolworth’s version of a Bechtle. Stucco, evergreen bushes, empty sidewalks—it looks very tracthousey, very Venice. What makes it memorable is what it lacks: there are no shiny surfaces, chrome

  • Elmer Bischoff

    I don’t think West Coast art has ever really worried about ideas of the impersonal as New York artists have. Reviewing three decades of art (roughly 1945–75) can substantiate all my hidden prejudices about the subject of painting, culture, and traditionalism. The new work looks old (especially the good stuff), harking back to the days when painting reigned. That paint, craftily laid on in appropriately pleasing arrangements, was necessary to create honest-to-goodness art, Art.

    Elmer Bischoff had two shows: new paintings at the Art Institute and ink drawings in Berkeley. I should write the whole

  • Richard Diebenkorn

    Diebenjorn was a colleague of Bischoff’s in the heyday of West Coast ’40s–’50s art (if you think there was a heyday) and while Bischoff has retained the human figure in his work to this day, Diebenkorn was the landscape painter, even when he became an abstractionist. There’s only a short distance from the Berkeley series (on display at Berggruen) to the Ocean Park series. Now Diebenkom was probably the best painter painter (ya know, tough) around then, and this mini-retrospective is a handsome show. Large areas of vigorously painted blue (sky), green, and brown arabesques (trees, ground), the

  • Sam Francis

    Sam Francis? He’s different. A very good painter but not a painter’s painter. No cross to bear. How he gets away with it year after year is something (he never gets slick). How can he move with modernist painting all the way from the West Coast (he left the center for the edges and now is back inside the arena again)?

    The new paintings (untitled) are on canvas and paper; the small ones (Mandalas) on paper have rectangular solids smack in the center, emphasizing the shape of the paper. They are simple—the best in the show. Francis continues the wide water swatches with those impossible colors

  • “Both Kinds: Contemporary Art From Los Angeles”

    “Both Kinds: Contemporary Art from Los Angeles.” I am will ing to say that anyonedoing art appears old-fashioned and I guess the answer to that would be, who cares? Culture is conservative. Nothing really new can be done and it’s art history’s job to prove it. This show, arranged by Peter Plagens, is old-fashioned, in the handmade down-home way, with no industrial design present. The watchwords: heterogeneous, pluralistic and catholic. No preconceived ideas, except those of individual quality. It’s a long way from the uniformity that dictated the type of art, art history and criticism we were

  • “Poets of the Cities”

    There must be a reason why the Dallas Museum of Fine Art with the help of Southern Methodist University has decided to meddle in the already muddled affairs of New York and San Francisco painting in the ’50s. Geographically, this seems like some kind of mistaken identity crisis with wish-fulfillment overtones; but more likely, it is simply a chance to present something impressive and important. You feel that the motivations will be good, wholesome and clean but the execution overbearing yet incomplete, expansive yet (or thus) banal, and, well, wrong-headed. That yearning for culture, the

  • “California Realists”

    Los Angeles doesn't keep its junk, it throws it into trash compactors and makes land fills or ocean sewage. The man-made things are new, shiny plastic and clean, not at all unlike the “new” Texas. San Franciscans look down upon all this, but get a kick out of the automobiles, tackiness, and technology. It's this perverse love/hate which turns “California Realists” (John Berggruen Gallery) into such a popular show. It's another example of the misguided idea of an idea for an exhibition. Please read “Los Angeles” for “California,” so we laugh at the excesses and still relate to the pleasure. Unlike

  • Barry Le Va

    It’s not a conscious aversion to the arts, or contemporary art, but a natural shying away from things that smack of elitism as opposed to populism (this is a strong labor town). San Franciscans love culture veering toward the camp, jaded pleasures of fashion and immediate pleasures of rock music. Other than that, the theatricality of opera keeps it popular, hanging on as the vestige of glittery anachronistic absurdity that it is. No coincidence that rock superentrepreneur Bill Graham is sponsoring a huge benefit concert for those basketball coaches. No coincidences or surprises then that people