Jeff Perrone

  • The Ins and Outs of Video

    I

    DISCUSSIONS OF VIDEO USUALLY run through such subjects as communication theory, cybernetics, computers, mixed with equal parts of McLuhan, synthesizers, Cage, Zen, and, ultimately, the “revolution.” The historical blossoming—if you can call it that—of video is situated in North America, 1960s, and video couldn’t have escaped these popular topics and influences. Proclaimed as the most “advanced” media for both popular (mass) and art (elite) consumption/participation, video was said to be the harbinger of all kinds of glorious and wonderful changes in art and society at large. “I have treated

  • Brice Marden

    Brice Marden was discovered just when many were saying that painting seemed to be on its last leg. A certain rescue strategy was initiated that magnetized his work, attracting every possible influence and predecessor of the last 400 years. This made Marden seem to be the apotheosis of it all, the crowning glory, the last gasp, not just of the endangered species—painting—but Western Art and Culture itself. To me, this is undoubtedly the worst thing short of utter neglect that can happen to a painter and his art. These canvases exist solely as vehicles for critics to exercise their ability to

  • William T. Wiley

    It’s no wonder that William T. Wiley strikes fear in the hearts of veteran New York art pundits. I doubt if I’ve ever seen a more perverse display of self-consciously bad-art-for-bad-art’s-sake than Wiley’s “Projects” show at the Modern. Oh, how they try and understand him! “Dude Ranch Dada” and deliberate put-on of New York art, meant to 1) categorize him with familiar (European) terms and 2) place him in some kind of relation to New York art; even if he’s anti-Big Apple, it still means he’s concerned with the capital of the art universe—no one gets to ignore it.

    The perversity of the

  • Carl Andre: Art Versus Talk

    KNOWLEDGE BOTH OF AN ARTIST’S writings and his myth (the things he allows to be said, whether true or not) usually creates friction for the viewer who wants to reconcile them with the visual objects at hand. It is not easy to “dismiss the evidence” when we know the artist thinks one thing and does another. And the artists and their apologists, taking refuge in the time-honored myth of le bête peintre (first attacked by, of all people, Duchamp) have literally felt free to contradict themselves on matters which they present as critically important or vaguely evocative, depending on the context.

    Of

  • Jasper John’s New Paintings

    The aim of every authentic artist is not to conform to the history of art but to release himself from it, in order to replace it with his own history.

    ––Harold Rosenberg, in Art on the Edge

    LEO STEINBERG WAS HIS MOST ELOQUENT spokesman, but he wrote nothing else after that watershed monograph of 1962. Articles about his new art tend to be generous sighs about the iconic images of the ’50s, which have been reworked in the graphic—mostly lithographic—works of the past few years. The only continuous work we see is of uncertain interest: it can be boringly repetitious (Ale Cans, 1975), messy, complex

  • Robert Motherwell

    Although A la Pintura does not signal any new directions in painting or open any doors, it nevertheless is one of Robert Motherwell’s most important paintings. It is basically a version of his continuing “Open” series, which consists of a one-color field and some kind of hanging rectangle drawn upon it, usually from the top. Compared with the rest of the show, in its refined black/white/brown and muted powder blues and rusts, A la Pintura appears to be a monumental release of energy—it is a field of the most sensuous blood red. This red is very powerful, and is something I would describe as

  • Will Insley

    Not paintings, not drawings, Will Insley's objects lay claim to some uncharted area in the vicinity of excavated architectural blueprints and inert flattened sculpture. He is showing work which is nearly identical to that seen in 1968 at the Whitney Annual. He presents series of objects which, sure enough, hang on the wall but do so in a rather noblesse oblige fashion. Their staid, purposeful, dark and light grays signal something above painting or sculpture, above mere art.

    Each wall-mounted, masonite object is gridded, and each of his series plays out a transformation by fooling around with a

  • Guy Dill

    The odd mixture of refined elegance and rigorous Constructivism is what gives Guy Dill’s sculpture its edge. The mixture has usually produced Art Deco-like results (Stella, Lichtenstein), but Dill adds precariousness to elegance and formality. His work executed in huge glass plates and concrete, with the glass standing on edge, kept the viewer apprehensive contemplating the physical feat, but without any melodramatic effect. They were fascinatingly insecure.

    The work he showed at Pace is smaller than things of his I’ve seen in Los Angeles. In LA you can do anything giant size, in New York I

  • Robert Barry

    After forays into image and color, association and evocative presentation, in such works as The Seasons Robert Barry has gone hermit again. He showed a number of exceedingly immaculate drawings, rather large, all white, with inscribed rectangles in pencil. On, in, or around these rectangles were word series in pencil, stencil, and Letraset. As an experience, it was definitely of the sensory deprivation type. Hinting at various personal responses by word nudging is an exercise I equate with early-’60s pseudo-Haiku and concrete poetry. Barry gives us the large blank interior of the drawings to

  • William Copley

    No mistake be made, William Copley is quite clear about the matter of our country’s birth. Not confident that the sacred cows have been brought to the slaughter enough times already, he takes each of our national heros and myths and subjects them to a raunchy replay. Copley knows that to be subtle would be coy, and also overlooked. He had an all-blue painting with dark blue block lettering reading DON’T FIRE UNTIL YOU SEE THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES. It was a good pun and a good painting which not-so-incidentally poked fun at the one-color canvas school of painting. Other paintings with obvious

  • ‘Women of Photography’: History and Taste

    “NO SUCH THING AS A ‘Female Eye’ Behind Camera,” concludes a review of the “Women of Photography” show;1 and indeed, if that were what the organizers wanted to prove—a literal “female eye” or “sensibility” lurking behind all women’s work—then their method certainly would have failed. More likely Margery Mann and Anne Noggle, who put the show together at the San Francisco Museum of Art, simply wanted to present the work of fine artists and decided, because of current interest in the subject, to choose women.

    And why not? You have to place limits on any show, and an all-women show picked by two

  • Sylvia Mangold

    Is there some kind of dialectic in artistic production, something having to do with expended labor? I don’t mean that in any rigorous, Marxian sense; some work doesn’t call attention to the fact that labor is involved because the object it produces looks effortless and it looks as if someone had such a great time doing it. The opposite of that must be art which looks like labor, like time spent on real technical labor—like Sylvia Mangold’s work (could there be a more appropriate word in her case than “work”?)

    It certainly doesn’t look like a good time; it’s all very serious and purposeful. I