Jerome Tarshis

  • Peter Gutkin, Paul Harris, Tom Holland

    After a series of dull shows—not dreadful, but too little gold per square foot of floor space—the San Francisco Museum of Art devoted its main gallery to three of the Bay Area’s stronger artists.

    Peter Gutkin makes souvenirs of some fancied world, occupying half a gallery or small enough to rest on your night table. His work is about boundaries and artificiality, among other things. The largest piece in the show, From Piccolo’s Fancy, shows crystallike forms suggesting obelisks or the recurring metal slab in the film 2001. They grow out of an artificial earth; in this piece, the artificial earth

  • Group show at Oakland Museum, Jerry McMillan, Paul Wunderlich, R. B. Kitaj, Brian Wall, Gary Stephan, Carlos Villa, Carol Heineman, Nathaniel Sirles

    George W. Neubert, curator of art at the Oakland Museum, has done a large group show to demonstrate that California artists do stuff just like the big boys in New York do. “It is said that owing to a lack of patronage by California collectors,” he writes, “the art produced by the West Coast artist does not fit into the mainstream of contemporary painting; we feel ‘Color and Scale’ questions that prevailing belief.”

    Neubert told me he is tired of people coming to the Bay Area and finding our part of the country characterized by cute little funk art, so personal, so eccentric. His reply was to put

  • Raymond Saunders

    The first drawings by Raymond Saunders that I remember seeing were in “Thirty Contemporary Black Artists,” organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1968. At the time I had wished Saunders would push harder. More flash, more vigor, more something. He has just had a one-man show at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and although I still wish he were doing something different, I have feelings of great warmth for what he has actually done. He reminds me of Giorgio Morandi and Julius Bissier, who worked in small scale, as Saunders does—the most common size in this show was 6 1/4 x 8 1/2

  • Ernest Posey and Wesley Chamberlin

    In a group of paintings at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Ernest Posey seems to be displaying his acculturation to the Northern California way of life. Since his last one-man show in San Francisco, at the Galeria Carl van der Voort in 1968, Posey has become more flamboyant in his use of color and hipper in form.

    Two pieces from the earlier period, #155 (1967) and Four Ellipses (1968) were in this show. Their typical form is an ellipse painted in a light color on a dark background,part of the perimeter flattened, with straight lines radiating from one of the foci. Even when the

  • Alan Eaker

    Joe Overstreet’s paintings were in front of the walls but not really on them, secured by ropes passed through grommets in the canvas. The kinetic sculpture of Fletcher Benton looked far better as an environment at the Berkeley Art Center than the same pieces had at the San Francisco Museum of Art. Most recently, a light-and-sculpture show entitled “Shadows,” by Alan Eaker, took advantage of the gallery’s many corners and added a few installed by the sculptor.

    Eaker fabricates tubular objects in polyvinyl chloride plastic, fills them with air, sets them at the intersection of two walls, and arranges

  • Donald Kaufman and Joel Bass

    One of the loveliest places for the exhibition of art in San Francisco was the Michael Walls Gallery in Ghirardelli Square. For economic reasons, Walls has had to move from that vast room to the smaller though still impressive space on Clay street where he first opened for business in April 1967. Walls’s last show at his Ghirardelli Square location presented seven paintings by the New York artist Donald Kaufman. They are quite different from the work for which Kaufman is well known. Instead of the single ‘X,’ horizontally composed, that sometimes made me think of him as the Jasper Johns of the

  • Diane Sloan

    At the William Sawyer Gallery we have had the first one-woman show of Diane Sloan, who presented a group of horrific paintings Sawyer Gallery and drawings she calls the Trophy Series. Her subjects are muscular men in the poses one sees in bodybuilding magazines. By calling these men trophies and by certain formal devices, Sloan asks us to see them as objects of sympathy. Her musclemen are not long-haired innocents whom we must consider beautiful on pain of being taken for Spiro Agnew; they are examples of proletarian beauty taken from an earlier America that still exists, although its citizens

  • Peter Rodriguez

    Peter Rodriguez, whose work has been seen in the past at some of Northern California’s better galleries, has had a show of paintings at the Galeria de la Raza, which exhibits the work of Chicano artists of established reputation as well as newer artists whose work might not otherwise be seen at all. In his palette Rodriguez reminds me of Robert Natkin; in line and composition he is completely different. Where Natkin tends toward the rectilinear and classical, in a gently brushed way, Rodriguez uses circles—many of the paintings are tondi—both as pictorial elements and as devices for organizing

  • Robert Crumb

    The Berkeley Gallery has done a giant retrospective of drawings by the cartoonist Robert Crumb, creator of Zap Comix and other publications that have given much tasteless amusement and, in the view of some policemen and district attorneys, probable cause to arrest booksellers. The show was just for fun; nothing was for sale. Many familiar pieces were there as original drawings: Zap covers, Lenore Goldberg and Her Girl Commandos, Mr. Natural, and more. Much more.

    I suppose what put Crumb’s comic books in trouble with the law was their anatomically explicit sex, which could hardly be considered

  • San Francisco

    During the past few years many sculptors have executed pieces that may be described as using the artist’s body as sculptural material. I am not sure whether a rigid distinction can be drawn between Barry Le Va’s running into a wall as often as he could at the La Jolla Museum last May, and the kind of happening in which Robert Whitman leapt into the air and fell to the floor at the Reuben Gallery in New York a decade ago. But artists now use film and videotape to an extent undreamed of in 1960, and one logical development of these tendencies is a traveling videotape show assembled by Willoughby

  • John Marin

    I have just seen the John Marin retrospective at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, and it brought back an adolescent thought I used to have when I was growing up in the Museum of Modern Art: how awful it must feel to be an artist and know that almost everything had been done long ago by John Marin or Man Ray or somebody like that. Since then I have learned that many things really weren’t done in the olden days, but after seeing this retrospective I think I was almost right the first time. John Marin was as good as a minor artist can possibly be, and his work is consistently more pleasing and

  • Carl Andre, Donald Judd, John McCracken, Tony Smith and Boyd Allen

    The San Francisco Museum of Art has given us a show whose very full title is “Unitary Forms: Minimal Sculpture by Carl Andre, Don Judd, John McCracken, Tony Smith.” I suppose the general public, which has barely adjusted to Jackson Pollock, and has never heard of Eva Hesse, will find this an instructive show. The catalog essay, by Curator Suzanne Foley (who assembled the show) does its teaching job quite well.

    But, speaking for that minority of the art public which keeps up to some extent with What’s Happening, I wonder why these developments of the mid-1960s are presented to us now. Certainly

  • Joseph Raffael

    All three levels of the Gallery Reese Palley were recently devoted to a show of paintings, constructions, and collages by Joseph Raffael. The great profusion of work on display suggests that Raffael loves to make art, and also that nothing stops him. The subject matter tells us again that he is an enthusiast. A few years ago he used subjects drawn from Oriental or Near Eastern culture, executed with incredible richness. Raffael works from photographs, but the sense of texture and the emotional brilliance he produces with his brushstrokes make him a remarkably painterly realist.

    He is also remarkable

  • John Clem Clarke

    Another artist who succeeds in producing a visual richness far beyond that of the photographs he works from is John Clem Clarke, who has had a show at the Michael Walls Gallery. In his earlier work Clarke adapted masterpieces of the past by using photographs of the works themselves; for these paintings he used photographs of his friends arranged in the required poses.

    He makes stencils for each area of color in the picture and then applies paint with a Flit gun instead of the traditional airbrush. This note on technique is fairly important for the understanding of his more recent work, since

  • Tom Holland

    At the Hansen-Fuller Gallery we have had an impressive show of paintings in epoxy on fiberglass, and some watercolors, by Tom Holland. In the past I saw formal experiment and little else in Holland’s work, but now he is making beautiful objects whose interest goes far beyond formal titillation. Like his earlier work, these paintings, collectively entitled the Berkeley Series, offer a combination of drip painting and topology. Holland’s raised strips of fiberglass, often painted in much the same way as their background, make each piece as a whole something like sculpture.

    I used to think Holland

  • George Miyasaki and Joe Overstreet

    Another treat for the senses was provided by George Miyasaki, who showed five paintings from his Ripple Series at the Berkeley Gallery. The word “ripple” refers to the central image, a solid ellipse with concentric—if that is the word—elliptic outlines radiating from it. The colors are lavender and red, and the gradations in value are small, though not so small as to disappear, as in the work of Ad Reinhardt. Miyasaki’s work is at once geometric and voluptuous; the paintings are consciously intended to be beautiful, and they score a quiet success.

    The Berkeley Art Center has had a strong show of

  • Mercedes Gutierrez-McDermid, Calvin Tondre, Rolando Castellon, Jan Evans, Rita Yokoi and Joan Hanson

    The Oakland Museum, which recently had a show by five black artists, seems to be seeking out the work of social groups that are underrepresented in museums. We have just had “Artes de la Raza,” presenting the work of 21 artists of Hispanic ancestry and culture, and a show by three women artists. Among the Chicanos, Mercedes Gutierrez-McDermid, who also happens to be a woman, was a real find. Her mixed-media construction The Definitive American Bull was a mischievously funny Rube Goldberg device, the work of a gifted humorist.

    Also worthy of special mention is Calvin Tondre, whose 18 ink drawings,

  • Carlos Villa

    Carlos Villa, one of the best painters we have in the Bay Area, recently had a show at the Richmond Art Center. His canvases were not framed or even on stretchers, but were stapled to the walls of the gallery. The paint was sprayed acrylic, and other substances were attached to the canvas: large areas of feathers at the edges of the canvas, fragments of mirror, chicken bones, nails. I particularly liked The Creator’s Gaze, executed in beads, feathers, and acrylic paint.

    In many of these paintings the line carries biological overtones, and often suggests the convolutions of the brain or the

  • Juba Solo and Joseph Geran

    The BlackMan’s Art Gallery has celebrated its third anniversary with a group show representing all of the gallery’s 12 artists. The gallery was founded because of a belief that there was no place where black people could go to see their own faces and lives in works of art, and the further belief that there was no gallery where a black artist could go and receive fair treatment and philosophic understanding. Its founder was a self-taught sculptor who has discarded the name given to him, W. O. (“Bill”) Thomas, Jr., and taken the name Juba Solo.

    Although he has had little time for his own work in

  • William Henderson, Henry Rollins, Michael Greene, Donald Coles and Leslie Price

    “Black, Untitled,” a show at the Oakland Museum, displayed the work of five black artists. All are under 30, and all live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. The show was organized by Evangeline Montgomery, consultant on black art to the Oakland Museum, and we owe her thanks for bringing us five artists who have had little exposure here. (None of the work in “Black, Untitled” has been previously exhibited.)

    William Henderson is the Expressionist of the five; he makes pictures that speak even to the viewer who has little sophistication about the visual arts. In one of his smaller pieces we