Jeff Perrone

  • “Grids”

    Might as well say it right off, so there’s no question about it: a lot of the objects in “Grids” are very beautiful and totally satisfying as art. What I have to say in no way reflects upon the individual me is of any single piece. The problem for me is that the show seems to want to be taken as more than a collection of nice things. One really nice thing was Frank Stella’s metallic doughnut hexagon; I’m certainly glad I had the opportunity to see it, but what has it got to do with grids? And, ultimately, what hasn’t it got to do with them?

    The catalogue for the show includes an essay by Rosalind

  • Robert Ryman

    After seeing Robert Ryman’s new painting I wanted to find one word that would explain how I felt about them.

    I found a quotation in a catalogue of his paintings: “Basically, my work has to do with just making visual art, something that excites me, that excites me personally, then I feel, if that happens, if I feel good about it, that maybe someone else will. If it doesn’t work out that way for me, then I feel it’s a failure.”

    The new paintings did not excite me, personally. Am I to conclude that Ryman must consider them failures (assuming that he ever discovers that I feel this way)?

    I wonder how

  • William Bailey

    It’s not what William Bailey paints that identifies him with an artist like Ryman, but how he thinks. The “how” is pretty much the same, so that both have this attraction to large blank spaces that should clue a viewer in as to exactly how this thinking materializes into a visual principle. Bailey paints—and has been painting for a long time—quietly subdued, somewhat stuffy, formal arrangements of pottery on a shelf, with occasional eggs. The color range strikes me as too limited and safe—as safe as all white—earth tones with a pinch of blue and yellow. Nothing upsetting here, nothing to suggest

  • Denise Green

    Denise Green works with two interlocking but easily separable aspects of Jasper Johns’ early work: flat or flattened, silhouetted, sign-like subjects combined with graphic and painterly looseness. Green cordons off a little territory of her own, employing a verbal humor tied to punning, making her work more available to discussion than most “New Image” painting, and a little closer to Johns than one might wish. My little bit of pseudo-art-historical precedent-setting and influence-peddling hardly constitutes a justification or idea about the art; I just don’t find this kind of art so new or

  • Richard Serra

    You wouldn’t expect Richard Serra—an artist consistently conscious in his sculpture of what sculpture is—to want to carry his sculptural thinking over into his drawings, which would emphasize the parameters and possibilities of drawings. Yet he cannot act as if he didn’t make sculpture, and neither can we. Serra is a master of sculptural space and construction, but I don’t think he has been able to unknot the problems of pictorial space, and he often tries deliberately to pervert them. This cannot be done by eliminating the trappings of pictorialism, or by pretending they are not necessary,

  • James Brooks

    I don’t really know why, but the last few years have seen a resurgent presence of many lesser-known Abstract Expressionist painters. Our memory of them resides in art over 20 years old, and they return with reviews of the last two decades of their work so we may catch up with them. This has made a possibly anemic art world somewhat more active, with revisionist critics busily revising standards, accountants anxious to rectify errors on the balance sheet of historical importance. It all seems rather suspicious, as if we should be exceptionally nice and sensitive to these painters because years

  • “Pattern On Paper”

    Historically, the celebration and decline of most major modern art movements coincides with their institutionalization as academies that breed new movements standing for opposite values (though adopting some of the features of their predecessors). Since Impressionism, this reaction has usually taken the form of primitivism, with painting returning to the crude, the naive, the childish, the exotic, for energy. Gauguin and Van Gogh retreated—escaped, physically or mentally—from urban life, and the art which reflected it. Closer to home, after Abstract Expressionism came Pop, which was perhaps an

  • Alan Green

    Since the phrase “bad painting” has already gained a certain notoriety lately as a pseudo-critical category, I hesitate to use it to describe the artists’ paintings I review here. The new “bad” has signified nonmainstream, crude, raw, personal, naive, different. Different from what? From what we have come to expect of professional New York City art —a certain look, finish, touch, casual but studied, honed, honest, just on the sincerely refined side of slick. Difference from this norm or model called for the word “bad,” as if being different were somehow “bad” But this new “bad” has quotation

  • Helen Soreff

    The laws of Stella’s Black paintings have been working within uninspired abstract painting since 1960. Working from a dead end. Stella knew this, or he wouldn’t so desparately try anything, even confusion, to escape its consequences. Stella had just one idea, but what his countless progeny forget is that he didn’t have one format. Ideas are fine in art, but in visual art, it is the way the idea is shown to us that carries the day. The visualness of Stella’s repeated stripes exhibited a certain kind of force and power; we shouldn’t forget, however, how banal the idea really was. Stella’s idea—his

  • David Novros

    David Novros’ paintings have changed very little since he gave up working with strict modular units. Some things, like his use of dull color, have not changed at all. He shares his latest style with a host of other painters engaged with mammoth size, dark, unrelieved color and absence of imagery. The move occurred when they all gave up Newman for Still, dropping control for indecisiveness.

    In one of the new paintings, Novros introduced a very definite architectural element into the old, meandering ensemble of rectangular shapes, trying something “new” at the risk of looking “bad’” The alien

  • Robert Petersen

    Is there anything left to do within the traditional conventions of reductive abstraction? I wonder why Robert Petersen paints a painting white onthe ends and black in the center (that’s it) like a blow-up of a magazine reproduction of a Newman. Some of the paintings are paralyzed by their division into four squares—one horizontal and one vertical through the midpoint makes four—all determined by the facts of the support (or course). The visual “interest” appears in certain areas which go from more to less black. Other than implying that paintings can supply feeble illusionisms, I don’t know what

  • Al Held

    I remember some of Al Held’s earlier, large, solid, simple-shape, colored paintings. His work has changed a lot since then, even though some things remain, such as his preference for difficult figure/ground relationships. The changes he’s gone through haven’t, in my opinion, made him a better painter. The move away from color was probably his most drastic mistake. Before this show, I had never really seen any of the black-and-white paintings except as illustrations. I was taken aback by the new ones because others of similar type looked so much better in scaled-down, generalized reproduction.