Jeffrey Keeffe

  • Robert Stackhouse

    Robert Stackhouse’s large wooden structures are things I dimly remember having dreamt about a long time ago. Curiously, Stackhouse says that he has dreamt about them too. And several other people tell me they’ve dreamt about these same objects. All of which suggests that Stackhouse is in touch with something pretty basic.

    There were two big wood constructions in Sailors, Stackhouse’s recent installation and his second one-person show in New York. Built on the floor was a gently curving, 72-foot-long structure called Ship’s Deck. It was slightly concave although flat enough to walk on—an activity

  • Richard Diebenkorn

    I overheard a woman at Richard Diebenkorn’s show say to her companion, “Don’t you just love his edges.” The companion apparently did, and so do I. And I love his pentimenti, and his composition, and his sense of color too. Diebenkorn knows, perhaps better than any other living American artist, how to combine paint and canvas to maximum advantage.

    But it’s not simply technical proficiency that puts Diebenkorn at the forefront of American painters today. In all great art there is a creative leap from the mechanical to the spiritual, and it’s the size of Diebenkorn’s leap that makes his art so

  • “Generation”

    I think we’ve reached a crisis in abstract painting. It’s ironic that I should feel this after seeing “Generation,” because most of the 19 painters in this show organized by Michael Walls are good ones, and most were represented by strong examples of their recent work.

    The 19 artists were: Jo Baer, Frances Barth, Jake Berthot, Jerry Buchanan, William Conlon, Stuart Diamond, Porfirio DiDonna, Ron Gorchov, Tom Holland, Ralph Humphrey, Robert Mangold, Brice Marden, Elizabeth Murray, Doug Ohlson, Robert Ryman, Joan Snyder, Frank Stella, Robert Swain and Joan Thorne.

    Any attempt to generalize about

  • Charles Ross

    Applying the same criteria to Charles Ross’ work as to abstract painting—that the importance of the work of art depends as much on the importance of the ideas as on how well the artist has handled them—I would have to rate Ross’ work highly. Light and time—in a universal sense—are Ross’ themes. Light is not only the source of energy, it’s pure energy, and considering that life wouldn’t exist without it, one certainly can’t accuse Ross of being trivial.

    In this show, The Colors in Light, The Colors in Shadow, Ross exhibited six eight-foot-tall prisms, each a few feet from a painted column of

  • Stuart Diamond

    How much should one's knowledge of the artist's life affect one's evaluation of his work? I used to think the two should be entirely separate, and that still seems like a good rule of thumb when dealing with Morris Louis, Frank Stella or Kenneth Noland––artists who make very formal work. But with more idiosyncratic work, knowledge of the person may shed light on the work.

    The seven wildly painted constructions in Stuart Diamond’s recent show trace their art historical ancestry directly to Schwitters’ Merz constructions of the early ’20s. Like Schwitters, Diamond collects pieces of wood, broken

  • Kenneth Snelson

    An aborigine, when shown a photograph of an elephant for the first time, can’t make heads or tails of it. We can, because after seeing millions of photographs, we’ve learned how to translate their flatness, limited scope and small scale and see in our mind’s eye the object photographed. Looking at Kenneth Snelson’s 360-degree panoramic photographs of Paris, I felt a little like that aborigine. The panoramic photograph is so unfamiliar that the mechanics of how one is made kept getting in the way of my really seeing it.

    Snelson is best known for his amazing metal tubing and cable sculptures based

  • Cecile Abish: Building from the Ground Up

    CECILE ABISH IS INTERESTED IN the way art reveals information about itself. In fact, one might say that this concern is the content of her art. “Information” may seem like a pretentious word considering how little of it is contained in art as compared with, say, a newspaper or a mechanical drawing, both of which disclose information about things other than themselves. Nevertheless, art does contain information, even if, with most contemporary art, that information is about the art object or the art-making process rather than about the outside world. Still, concern with how that information is

  • Mac Adams

    Step off the elevator into a darkened hall. Turn left into the gallery and you’re immediately blinded by a searchlight aimed straight at you out of the darkness. What’s going on here? Something’s wrong. You walk toward the light—cautiously, because it’s blinding you and you can’t see where you’re going. Once inside the gallery you move outside the beam of light and discover that it’s coming from a motorcycle parked on a patch of dirt. There’s an orange nylon backpack beside the bike, and there are a woman’s clothes and half a dozen color snapshots spilling out of it. You study the backpack, the

  • Alice Aycock

    The more I try to figure out what Alice Aycock is up to the more frustrated I become. Her work seems filled with blind alleys and false leads, and, for me at least, it defies all attempts to get close to it. This, of course, may be precisely the effect Aycock is after, and if to frustrate, insult, irritate, and anger are her intentions—and there is some reason to believe they are—then she succeeds with me. That her work elicits such negative emotions, however, is not necessarily bad. Art that elicits any emotion is rare, and the best art is often like a slap across the face.

    Pulling from 6,000

  • Lucas Samaras

    Lucas Samaras is one of the more theatrical and prolific artists working today. He’s a combination magician, traveling medicine show, and one-man band, and we’ve come to demand of him what we’d expect of few other artists: that he amaze us every few years with something new and even more marvelous. His latest offering is a series of abstract fabric constructions that have all the unrestrained joy and beauty of a 14th Street yard goods store. Cheap, bright, exuberant colors everywhere. Rayon and polyester. Polka dots, stripes, plaids, checks and herringbones mixed in with gold, silver and copper

  • Daria Dorosh

    Daria Dorosh’s recent paintings seem to be largely about color—deep, rich, glowing color with only the slightest bit of visual detail used to structure them. Curiously, however, I was hard put after first seeing them to say with certainty precisely what colors I had been looking at. I was left with the impression of color per se, rather than of specific colors.

    The 16 paintings in this show ranged from one foot square to five feet square. They were installed on only one wall of the gallery—some at eye level and some considerably higher, some in groups of three or five and others alone. It was an

  • Richard Fishman

    There is a time when an artist finishes working his way through recent art history, leaves his artistic influences behind, and begins making his own work. Some artists reach this point in their early 20s; others may be well into their middle years; some never reach it. But no matter when it happens, there’s a freshness and sense of experimentation about the new work. It may be tentative and lack the assurance of earlier work done on safe, familiar ground, but it will have enthusiasm, vitality and individuality.

    Richard Fishman reached this point about two years ago. The 11 sculptures and four

  • Robert Therrien

    My first reaction to Robert Therrien’s paintings was that I had stumbled on an exhibit of Polynesian or American Indian artifacts: shields, pictographs, sled runners, and canoe outriggers. But after a minute or two the artifacts began to look wrong. The shields were too Gothic and too big. The circular pictographs contained no pictures. The runners and outriggers never would have worked. Yet even after realizing that these objects were produced as art in downtown Los Angeles in the 1970s, it’s hard to erase the impression that they once served a functional purpose in a primitive society.

    Therrien’s

  • David Mocarski

    David Mocarski’s recent show, “The American Life Ritual,” was a fascinating and complex exhibit. Mocarski describes it as “a body of work examining the educational process by which one internalizes a culture.” Like his 1976 show “Suburban Delusions,” “The American Life Ritual” dealt with concerns of sociology and behavioral psychology in an art context.

    The ten works in this installation, all completed in the past year and a half, ranged in complexity from a single, framed drawing of an electrical cord to a multi-media, room-size installation called House/Home dealing with the roles a woman may

  • Don Bachardy

    Although portrait painting is not quite a lost art—thanks to Andy Warhol, Alice Neel, and a few others—it has certainly become a neglected one. Photography has made the painted portrait unnecessary as a record, and the hack painters specializing in flattery have made most “serious” artists shy away from portraiture. Don Bachardy’s recent show of 32 portraits—15 drawings and 17 watercolors—offers ample proof, however, that when handled with skill and intelligence, the drawn or painted portrait offers pleasures the photographed one does not.

    Bachardy has always drawn people from life. Unlike his

  • Guy De Cointet and Bob Wilhite

    Guy De Cointet’s and Bob Wilhite’s third performance, Ramona, was about overlapping sensory perceptions. The eight actors “see” sounds, “hear” sights, and “taste” noises. De Cointet’s script attempts to create a world of carefree unreality and illogic somewhere between A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

    Although both de Cointet and Wilhite are essentially visual artists whose individual works have included performances where the conception was more important than the execution, in Ramona the reverse seems true. Here the play’s the thing. And a very conventional thing