Jeff Perrone

  • Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison

    On the other hand, there are Helen and Newton Harrison. Their show attempted to fuse what may be considered as art with what is not art. And without a tinge of irony or humor. As it turns out, the art part is absolutely dispensable, while the rest is of considerable interest. The Harrisons “work” with earth, performing reclamations of wastes, for instance, moving compost materials into barren areas of upper New York State. (The fact that the land is in Artpark is irrelevant.) These areas will be seeded to become “variable meadows” of trees, berry patches and orchard. (One wonders who, if anyone,

  • The Battle of Chile

    Although I think that The Battle of Chile is a stunningly conceived and brilliantly executed work of art, I know I am doing it an injustice by reviewing it under the condition of art, in this magazine. Its proper place is probably not here. I feel that I can “use” it because I can consider it both as high art and historical document. But what its true use might be in a Third World nation, as a meaning in a Third World culture, I am unable to judge. It is a film which can exist solely on the periphery in our culture, simply because it is Marxist, pro-working class, anti-imperialist and clearly

  • Peter Plagens

    For the sake of argument, let’s say that the major dynamic contributing to the incomplete discussion of United States art is the consistent machine-gunning of California art, usually by those who are not even native New Yorkers. These fake New Yorkers’ xenophobia produces unilateral condescension toward the human aberrations from the West—branding them as simple, stupid, lazy, mush-headed idiots—finding California’s weather simply too good for the production of suitable art or proper intellectual activity. Everything and every thought is assumed to originate in New York City, although New Haven

  • Jasper Johns

    It might seem that there could be little more to be said about Jasper Johns, that we know perhaps a little more than we want to, with the Whitney retrospective and the concomitant exegesis. But not quite everything has been covered, especially a consideration of the general reaction to this inundation of Johns. There were at least two shows devoted entirely to the range of his graphic work, and a show at the downtown Whitney, which covered all the various editions which evolved from the painting Untitled from 1972: the hatchings, the flagstones, and the body parts. This last show was interesting

  • Frances Barth

    The confusions of the art world right now stem from its recent history, a history which valued the stripped-bare solution, the risk of repetition, the integrity of the void. This state of affairs could be seen as the logical, even natural, outgrowth of a series of moves culminating in Minimalism and Conceptualism. The problem today is to proceed out from that position into something more pictorially complex without becoming reactionary. The appeal of realism and photography is the appeal of conservatism, of reaction. (The repetition of the solutions of Minimalism and Conceptualism are likewise

  • Sam Gilliam

    The taste for thickly painted paintings is epidemic; I just wish I could discover the responsive audience’s reaction to it. Only other artists seem to catch it, and even among those you might think are immune, their surfaces are becoming clotted with malignant growths of paint. Some are more advanced, more extreme than others: Humphrey, Torreano, Gorchov and Sam Gilliam paint works which appear thicker, uglier, and more degenerative than Olitski’s or Bannard’s. But this “radicalness” just makes it less possible for us to get excited by another painting “move.” Painting “moves” are fabricated

  • Les Levine

    I can’t imagine what it is like to be a second-generation lyrical abstractionist field painter just beginning to explore surface texture, but I bet it’s less depressing than being yet another artist engaged in another resurrection of some lame Duchampian gesture, and always for the purpose of explaining it away as just art. I look forward to the next Les Levine mock-art situation with even less hope than I do the next batch of thick paintings. I expect the same product from both: not art, really, but some kind of unconsidered, nebulous “activity”—small deviations from over-processed “ideas”

  • Kenneth Noland

    It was impossible for me to imagine Kenneth Noland’s paintings getting any prettier than they already were, but they have. With the new ones, as always, success weighs heavily on some unique experience of color. But as his retrospective last year proved conclusively, Noland de-sensitizes our response to color by removing it from any reference, leveling difference between individual colors, making them function in any possible combination, in any arbitrary relationship. Only the plaid paintings surprised, with their multiple stain surfaces and dark, moody blues. But they still seemed to lack any

  • Roy Lichtenstein

    Roy Lichtenstein’s new polychrome sculptures are charming, civilized, and knowing. And, as usual, these qualities are present in equal parts with wit, irony and tawdriness. Lichtenstein’s best work balances high and low art as if they occurred naturally in a hybrid form. But they do not. His own synthetic, assured presence is the missing element. It is only a conceit that distance is kept between artist and art. What could be more Lichtensteinian than the subjects of these sculptures? There is a special identity between artist and environment.

    Lichtenstein’s style appears impersonal, but his work

  • Joel Meyerowitz

    “Favorite Photographs Can Be Used For Decorative Wall Art” states the title of the Camera section essay in the Sunday New York Times. If it were only that easy. Joel Meyerowitz’s large exhibition of over 100 photographs runs me straight into general problems. Photographs never allow any singular experiences. I can’t divorce the way photographs are used in albums, in newspapers, in kitchens, from the way I see Meyerowitz’s in the gallery. I feel thwarted by suspicion and doubt before I can get hold of the possible significance of even one image. Photography’s promise of seeing clearly is really

  • Mel Bochner: Getting from A to B

    The long chains of simple and easy reasonings by means of which geometers are accustomed to reach the conclusions of their most difficult demonstrations, had led me to imagine that all things to the knowledge of which man is competent, are mutually connected.

    René Descartes

    Discourse on Method (1637)

    THREE PLANAR ARCS WAS A painting done directly on the wall in casein and charcoal at the Whitney Biennial in 1977. It contained three “planar arc” configurations: one in the approximate center of the wall, the two others approximately equidistant from the center to the left- and right-hand sides near

  • Walter De Maria

    The fall season opens. No one’s much interested this year; people haven’t even gotten excited about the fall clothes collections, which are relatively more important to New Yorkers. Here and there the fringe elements climb into Punk skins, but it’s a façade of a difference. Things aren’t merely the same as last year, but pretty much the same as ten years ago. All that tautologous art has kept us at A equals A equals A; we haven’t gotten to B yet. One artist doesn’t even bother to paint this time around; just colored construction paper and two or three lines. A friend and I duck into a Soho bar

  • Agnes Martin

    Reductive abstractionists often back themselves into a corner with color. When structural variation is reduced from the start, or after repetition grows weary, there isn’t much more left to work with. In her last show, Agnes Martin flirted with color—pale orange and pink, and pale blue. It was a kind of naive representation of atmospheric, “poetic” color, and it was obvious that she had no feeling for, no idea about, color. After all those years of repression, it was probably too much for Martin to break out with some convincing or genuine account of color. It was nevertheless an interesting

  • Max Kozloff

    There are many things going on, and many things to be said about Max Kozloff’s photographs. This is both an asset and a problem. Obviously possessed of a lively intelligence, Kozloff packs every detail in every image with meaning; I’m sure he knows exactly what he’s doing, even if I don’t. The consequence of this thoroughness is that he does all the work for the viewer.

    A typical Kozlovian image reads as follows: a display of both carefully arranged and chaotic shelves of gold and silver objects which reflect light; the window in front of the display which reflects the scene across the street;

  • Lois Lane

    I have seen other paintings by Lois Lane, and I don’t quite understand how she got from there to here. There doesn’t seem to be any linear progression. In her new work, the consistency was to be found in a sensibility and roughness which pulled disparate things together. None of the paintings looked very much alike. Lane used to lean heavily toward process—folding, stapling—but none of that has been carried over in the new work. What is now important, it seems, are iconic elements, which are both direct and associative, blunt and allusive. There were iconic elements which were not repeated in

  • Christopher Rauschenberg

    Formalist photography has become so respectable that a curious reversal is underfoot. With so much photography being exhibited everywhere, it is easy to spot where enthusiasms and dissatisfactions are leading. Young photographers who once might have followed the formal route (emphasis on composition, texture, placement, cropping, a few elements under complete control) are slipping over into something else, losing coherence and gaining in informality. Christopher Rauschenberg might have played his hand straight, but perhaps he recognized how easy it is to achieve the nicely juggled photograph,

  • Introductions ’77

    Even though it is becoming more frequent for San Franciscans, like their New York counterparts, to head off to Europe during the summer, the most lively part of the season still seems the summer “Introductions.” Complaints are often heard regarding the selection of artists who are “introduced,” how the newcomers look all too much like gallery regulars, or how the young are safely tucked away during the traditionally dead months when no one goes to the galleries. But this program does offer a chance for the local audience to see art made in Sacramento, Eureka, even Nevada and Idaho.

    A local squabble

  • Hanna Hannah, Stan Askew, And Jean Thrift

    In the category of growth potential, the clear winner was Hanna Hannah; even her palindromic name was intriguing. The dominant quality in her delicate paintings on paper was an emotional and formal openness. She divides the standard 22-x-30-inch sheet into a lightly pencilled grid over which she adds numerous kinds of markings that congregate near the grid lines, but do not conform to its rigidity. The effect, as in O’Banion’s paper pieces, is to obviate the necessity of the grid. The liquidy pastel strokes and random color pencil marks look downright inelegant (no mean feat): the artist’s

  • Donna-Lee Phillips

    In one of her photo-text sequences, Donna-Lee Phillips’ fictional character asks, “Who remembers?” The answer, in the form of another question, comes later, in another piece: “If it weren’t for photographs, who would know?” Phillips explores the relationship between remembering, knowing and substantiation through photographs—memory as a problem solved by a device.

    The woman Phillips directs in her five sequences often acts out her life in front of a mirror, sitting at a vanity. At the other times, the camera functions as a mirror. In one, a man in the background waits for the woman to get made

  • Hal Fischer

    By approaching Hal Fischer’s photographs from this angle I do not intend to insinuate that his work addresses itself to these problems directly. Not exactly, for his photos are quite humble in their presentation and their effectiveness. What is important is a kind of directness and clarity which signify an analytical way of thinking that can be applied to many different subject matters. Fischer applies structuralist principles to the dissection, in particular, of the homosexual subculture; but a more general, less exotic, subject might have done just as well. This is to say that Fischer never