Jeff Perrone

  • 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

  • Eva Hesse

    Lucy Lippard, Eva Hesse (New York: New York University Press), 1976, 249 pages, 263 illustrations.

    LUCY LIPPARD DEALS WITH A body of work that has been surrounded by partisan excess, but she strikes a balanced pose, without dramatic claims, intense personal confessions or far-flung rhetoric. Scholarly and even-toned, her prose is matter-of-fact and almost dry in many places. Somehow Lippard manages to skirt the academic, and nothing seems unthinking or taken for granted. If pared-down prose can be a sign of simplemindedness, here it is the distillation of thought, consciously unadorned.

    As a critic

  • Robert Arneson

    Most of us have made clay ashtrays. It is an almost primal manipulation of material—the formation of the useful out of the unstructured earthen lump. Although Robert Arneson reacquaints us with this experience (the archetypal bourgeois child’s initiation into “creativity”), he would probably laugh at any deep primal significance. The “giving of form to the formless,” as if children were little gods out of Genesis, doesn’t sound quite right because it’s too serious. Arneson knows that a medium like ceramics can’t support metaphysical speculation, and he refuses to play his hand with a straight

  • Valerie Jaudon

    Valerie Jaudon’s paintings brought something to my attention which is difficult to explain. (This difficulty is not what interests me, however.) The best way of putting it is that they do not seem to be abstract as much as representational of the abstract. They do not “represent” other abstract paintings or objects, nor do they parody them. They do not turn abstraction into a cartoon of itself. I don’t mean that her paintings relate to abstraction as realist painting does to its ostensible subject matter. The paintings do not represent an instance of the abstract, of abstraction. They present

  • Giorgio Cavallon

    Giorgio Cavallon was represented this spring by three large shows. Early paintings, from the ’50s, were exhibited at Learmonth. A much better group of new paintings were shown at Gruenebaum. (There was a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, too, but I did not see it.)

    The main feature of Cavallon’s paintings is their presentation of a certain, but ambiguous, kind of light. Hilton Kramer, in an unusually poetic mood, calls this emanation “a delicate white radiance, romantic and other-worldly.” Almost all the more interesting paintings have an underlayer suggestive of grid-like structures, blocked

  • Marco Gastini

    I know nothing about Marco Gastini. I did not ask anything about him. I have never seen any of his other work, and I have never read anything about him. So there, in the empty gallery, I had nothing to fall back on. I could be a naif. I prepared myself to be “uninitiated,” and operated under those conditions.

    The show consisted of a large number of different-sized, but rather smallish canvases. These were arranged at random, as far as I could tell, although there was a vague crosslike arrangement on one of the walls. Each wall was covered from top to bottom, although not necessarily side to side

  • John Baldessari and Daniel Buren

    The Matrix Gallery is a section of the Wadsworth Atheneum which has provocative shows for the region it serves, although its choices are fairly New York establishment. What was interesting about this particular show was the presentation of two artists, and two artists whose art is obviously so different. John Baldessari’s photographs were chosen to point up his interest in color. Some of the newer sequences were shown at the Whitney Biennial; others were more than five years old. Color is a feature of his work that most people have not discussed, except to call it “sumptuous,” which doesn’t say

  • ‘Words’: When Art Takes a Rest

    SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE we got used to the idea that an art object could be a lousy object and a great work of art, as long as it was interesting to think about. Since Duchamp, the idea has commanded a great deal of our attention, but rarely has the idea come to fruition in a truly crummy-looking object. With those few works, however, the “artistically” or visually uninteresting object has passed from idea into fact. The consequence was that art became “immersed in words,” as Rosenberg has said.

    In the last few years, however, we have begun to accept works which are not only non-objects but

  • Pat Lasch

    Pat Lasch’s “Family Portraits” resemble cakes. They are white or pink, decorated with thin, icinglike paint. Delicate streamers of “frosting” mesh into ribbons or parting curtains. Sometimes the surfaces break out into roses with discreet green leaves. They resemble old-fashioned announcement cards, or sometimes stages. But they are really like shrines. In the center of each work is one or more photograph, always of a member of the Lasch family. A cake indicates a special occasion. On special occasions one brings out the camera.

    One is titled Blood Is Thicker Than Water But We’re Still Lovers.

  • Roy De Forest

    It was good to see Joan Brown in the Whitney Biennial, but I wish someone like Roy De Forest could have been there too. By herself, Brown was funky and provincial. With another artist like De Forest, we might have started to understand the strength of figurative painting in this country. It would have demonstrated how different this kind of painting can be even when it shares a common sensibility. Both De Forest and Brown speak to a highly knowledgeable, connoisseur audience which is for the most part unconcerned with the New York scene. Both work with overt subject matter, narrative, and

  • Tony Robbin

    Perhaps I’ve grown up on too much literalist art. No matter how much so-called illusion there is in a painting, I just see something flat. Many people can’t seem to get over the illusionism in Tony Robbin’s work, and I don’t get it. I might quote Bruce Boice: “One kind of illusion is as real as another, and illusion is as real as any other allegedly real entity. A still-life painting is not less real than Carl Andre’s fire bricks. Illusion is a possibility, and in a certain sense, a necessity.” Boice was writing about representational art, but here it’s abstraction. Since there is no art which

  • Bryan Hunt

    Bryan Hunt’s sculptures are derived from the shapes and volumes of bodies of water. The forms are cast in metal and placed on the floor; they have planar tops and jagged bottoms, indicating the changing depths of the water. Some have “holes” which translate into islands. Each work is small, and the tops—the “surface” of the water—tip at different angles. There is also one drawing of a blimp. The relationship between lakes and blimps is that we are meant to be flying over the lakes, experiencing the sculptures from a bird’s-eye point of view. As we tilt and turn in the air, our sense of “level”

  • Chris Burden

    There was much to read and listen to, and very little to look at, in Chris Burden’s show. Well, there was the car, which I will get to later. And there were drawings, pencilled plans for the car, matched only by the videotapes in sheer sloppiness and institutionalized informality. Burden seems to be playing at celebrity: he has “Bob” Irwin and Alexis Smith execute some of “his” drawings for him, thus establishing his status in the L.A. art world. We also learn that Smith is his new girlfriend. She giggles politely every time Chris tells a joke on the TV.

    If this seems peripheral, the main attraction

  • Beryl Korot

    There were four different components in Beryl Korot’s show—and a myriad of equivalences. Materially heterogeneous, the piece consisted df drawings, plans, wall hangings and videotapes. Yet together, they formed a seamless, interwoven whole.

    Five drawings charted the detailed underpinnings of five wall hangings. Five plans mapped out the patterned editing of a five-screen video piece. The videotapes revealed the processes involved in making the hangings: the strings being woven, the feet moving on pedals, the gathering of strings to be tied, the smack of wooden bars. And the tape also showed the

  • Llyn Foulkes

    In abstraction, the frame has been echoed incessantly as composition. It has caused the much discussed “edge” problem. The frame has presented itself as an ornate gold division and as Bruce Boice’s plain pine wrapping which signals “frame.” The frame demarcates the boundary between “art” and “life.” Inside it, in the safe convention of the painting space, the artist enjoys “freedom.” Outside that frame, the world impinges on that freedom, being preoccupied with finances.

    Llyn Foulkes makes his own frames. No baroque ornament which says “pricelessness,” and no silver section frame which automatically

  • Darryl Hughto

    There are, I think, two very different kinds of modernist painting. Critical exuberance (or blindness) has kept them together for years, so that we feel a kinship between them where none exists. One kind is rationally structured, with brilliant and arbitrary color—the taut, severe works of Newman, and early Stella and Noland. The second group is recognizably slick and ingratiating. Hilton Kramer has succinctly called it the marriage of anarchy and decoration (in the pejorative sense of the word) in the works of Pollock. And Pollock and Olitski are the celebrated masters here. Their work, giving

  • Ellsworth Kelly

    Ellsworth Kelly has never been a hard-core hard-edge painter. He has never accepted the square and the 90-degree angle as god-given. His color, never reduced to a set of primaries, has always been luscious and natural, prismatic without being systematic. Taken as a whole, his work sacrifices logic and rationality for a chance to bend a line, curve space, and charge color with worldly reference. His handsome canvases have never succumbed to intellectual pretense or justification for communication, and formal explanations have always seemed way off mark. Kelly doesn’t map out an itinerary beforehand;

  • Pinchas Cohen Gan

    I wonder if I am wrong thinking that Pinchas Cohen Gan is basically a whimsical, dryly humorous, childlike spirit. Is the informality and offhandedness disguising something more serious? Is the seeming naiveté willed or natural, and an end in itself?

    Art History A is a pile of small canvases in the middle of the room. Why am I attracted most to the Crayola-like colors and the self-depreciating mockery, and not the analytic dissection? Proposition Painting with a Real Copy of an Orange is made of two panels: one, that classic bad-taste color, thalo green with white; the other, a tacky fuschia.

  • Rafael Ferrer

    Rafael Ferrer’s show proved how hopeless it is to experience certain kinds of art within the modern gallery space. That space, even though it is blank and empty, can be a distraction if it is in direct opposition to the spirit of its contents. Ferrer usually disturbs the “white cube” by turning the whole room into an environment where every element derives its meaning from its place within the total ensemble. Any material can be made to work: neon, twigs, paintings, canoes—as long as the basic antagonism between work and space is obliterated. And Ferrer has often been quite successful at overcoming

  • Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe

    Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe’s new paintings have dropped their previous affinities with Bochner and Rockburne and place all their chips on Mardenesque reductive abstraction. The symptoms are easily detected: square panels arranged in grids. One panel, one color. Grid empty of everything save color. No marking. No image. No painterliness. All deadpan, flat handling. Tasteful, arbitrary color. Here, color includes the latest Marden-inspired “shocking” juxtaposition of complementaries along with the de rigueur dark, dark greens and grays mingling with not-quite whites. We’ve seen it a thousand times.