Joan Casademont

  • Harmony Hammond

    For several years Harmony Hammond has been making bulky sculptures out of ladderlike wood and metal forms wrapped in cloth and covered in Rhoplex. She paints them and groups them against gallery walls with a striking awareness of physical presences. Their textures, sizes, shapes, and colors suggest human forms with the subtlety and wit of an artist who has developed a highly economical style. Lucy Lippard wrote a year ago that “buried” in these forms is a militant feminist consciousness (which Hammond herself has articulated in writing); Lippard’s choice of the word “buried” is appropriate.

  • Joe Zucker

    In Joe Zucker’s new painting series, “Combinations,” patterns amount to considerably more than mere patterns. In these 15 works hung frame to frame, which dramatically overcome the gallery space, arms and boxing gloves jump and converge lyrically. The subject, a 15-round boxing match, is immediately clear from the red gloves and arms that appear in most of the pictures; but Zucker’s forms are silhouettes, two-dimensional abstract shapes that emphasize surface and are painted in a limited, repetitive palette. Zucker further accentuates the importance of surface by using heavy Rho-plex, painting

  • Salomé

    Salomé’s painting is much more expressionistic than Zucker’s, but he, like Zucker, depicts frenetic situations lyrically, and in a style devoid of personal emotionalism. In his new canvases Salomé’s figures are more detailed than in previous work, but no more individual. Naked male figures, in groups of five or six, twist, bend, and posture in what could be either joy or pain. An occasional figure will appear walking, looking over his shoulder and wearing pants; and a leaping, clothed figure, shown from the back, appears in more than one painting. Space is distorted; the figures are piled on

  • Pat Steir

    Pat Steir’s flowers, still lifes, and geometric shapes seem to exist in enchanted worlds. In some compositions Steir paints these images, usually floating against the background, within a square, and then paints a wide “frame” around this central form. Within these outer frames, with busy abstract marks and letters, Steir muses on the contours and gestures evident in the central image. The total effect of these paintings-within-paintings is, not surprisingly, harmonious; Steir is primarily an abstract painter, more interested in how one image relates to another than in the cultural significance

  • Carlo Maria Mariani

    From a quick glance at Studio per Costellazione del Leone (La scuola di Roma) one might think that Carlo Maria Mariani has a fine sense of humor. Mariani, with meticulous proficiency, paints in the neoclassical style that was popular in Rome in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; in this massive 15-foot-wide painting Mariani stays true to that style, but we immediately recognize that something is curiously amiss. Though all of the details, including postures and dress, are in the style of the period, the faces are distinctively real: they are the faces of Mariani’s colleagues, critics, and

  • John Torreano

    Torreano’s abstract jewel works glittered like kitsch skies full of stars; now he has given shape to those skies by delineating constellations and galaxies on his canvases, which have titles like Orion and Helix Nebula. Those new paintings that do not refer to the galaxies refer in another way to the heavens: wooden cruciforms, studded with jewels and glass, bear such titles as Irish Cross and Diamontes en la Cruz. This incorporation of “imagery” may seem like a grand departure, but it is really more a camp meditation on the metaphorical possibilities of the jewel. What, after all, could be more

  • K. H. Hödicke

    Compared to the work of such neoExpressionists as Rainer Fetting and Salomé (his ex-students, though he isn’t much older than they), K.H. Hödicke’s paintings are neither proudly anti-intellectual nor aggressively expressionistic. He has a way of choosing subjects that seem to address more substantial matter than German art-historical tradition or painting for painting’s sake, but his social commentary exists for the most part on the surface. Hödicke does take on such social ills as prostitution, pornography, and what looks like white imperialism, to name a few, but Hödicke the stylist doesn’t

  • Bernd Zimmer

    Choosing subject matter to paint is evidently the least of Bernd Zimmer’s worries. No matter how banal the reality may be, Zimmer will make it look as if it’s a hallucination. His neo-Expressionist landscapes all have the feel of imminent catastrophe, as if in every innocent scene there exists some terribly subtle crime, hidden from the pedestrian eye.

    In Grosser Wasserfall (Large Waterfall), 1980, a rush of light water cascades downward over ragged rocks that hover in midair, threatening to crash out of the picture plane. The spatial relationships between rocks and water are a little irrational,

  • “Represent, Representation, Representative”

    Most of the young American painters and sculptors included in “Represent . . .” are interested in using representation as a means to an end other than itself, or other than as an excuse for art-historical meanderings. The members of this group of 11 artists may not share an approach to making socially engaged art, but they do share what ranges from a playful wish to a longing to subvert social (and artistic) hypocrisies. In one manner or another, their works address the issue of social violence—and this commonality among their paintings and sculptures is as hazy and difficult as the issue itself.

  • “New Directors/New Films”

    Cynical folks might say that any film series curatorially committed to the plight of the international underdog must wallow in liberal platitudes. Fortunately, some of the movies included in last spring’s “New Directors/New Films” series (cosponsored by the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center) helped to remedy this cynic’s jaundiced eye. In lieu of reiterating high-minded but familiar rallying cries for human liberation, nearly half of the 14 films included reflect upon intricate social ironies in calm tones and cool styles, through characters and situations that are far

  • Chuck Close

    Although Chuck Close must be more intimately acquainted with the construction of the human face than any other artist of his generation, he is a portraitist decidedly uninterested in human character. His early gigantic, scrupulously modeled heads make Andy Warhol’s portraits look almost analytical, so deliberately stylized and objectified are they. As Martin Friedman, director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, tactfully says in one of the show’s catalogue essays, the most direct cause for this superficiality is that Close works not from life, but from uninteresting, bland photographs of

  • Rainer Fetting, Helmut Middendorf

    To the Anselm Kiefer school of Teutonic mythomania may not be added the lush paintings of Rainer Fetting or the frenzied works of Helmut Middendorf. For these young German painters, the romance of twentieth-century European art history is far more exciting than that of German legend. Perhaps the only pursuit more thrilling than this for each is the act of painting itself.

    Fetting’s interest in naked young men in showers and bathrooms only superficially recalls David Hockney. His men just happen to be in bathrooms; their surroundings and states of nakedness aren’t nearly as sexy as the colors and

  • Thomas Lawson

    As a critic for this magazine, Thomas Lawson displays little patience with pretentious or sentimental imagery that rides behind the shield of the “new.” It is something of a relief to see that his paintings are the products of the same tenacious mind; his imagery alone—battered women, murdered men, brutalized children—safeguards against any accusations that the artist suffers from even a fleeting moment of romantic weakness. It is hard to walk away from his work without recalling not just the specific paintings, but the specific kinds of everyday atrocities to which they so grimly attest.


  • Sally Potter

    Among the events promoted on Franklin Furnace’s press release for its “Women Performance Artists from London and Los Angeles” series, Sally Potter’s film Thriller was billed as “the first feminist murder mystery.” As an imaginative attempt to uncover the antifeminist, antisocialist foundations of the conventional operatic narrative form, Thriller is deliberately ill-suited to that genre. Its aim is to expose, not impose, the artifices of dramatic construction.

    Thriller focuses on two juxtaposed narratives: footage of an exemplary opera, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, being performed onstage,

  • Ida Applebroog

    Ida Applebroog’s paintings and books of cartoonlike couples and lonely figures seeking refuge in desolate hotel rooms are about as sentimental as Saturday Night Live’s version of TV news. If at least one of the characters in each work isn’t represented as a member of the dominated or demeaned, the one-line titles suggest a narrative sequence during which someone will become a member, whether forcefully or subtly. Applebroog’s satirical targets are men and women involved in stereotypically unequal sexual relationships, or individuals stricken with paranoia and self-doubt. They all inhabit not

  • Hollis Sigler

    If Ida Applebroog is a soft-spoken commentator on urban affairs, then Hollis Sigler is a closet interpreter of suburban life. Her new series of paintings, “Poisoned,” depicts a set of unpopulated rooms cluttered with the tiny material objects and emotional residue of one dominant male who was “hungry for power,” and of one dominated woman who was “always devining [sic] to be loved.” Their mock-sentimental tale of woe, told through the delicate captions that are painted onto these paintings, is not nearly as interesting as the varying collections of tiny doll-sized objects that clutter the

  • “Drawings & Paintings On Paper”

    What do David Deutsch’s landscape drawings and Mimmo Paladino’s still lifes have in common? And what do Mike Glier’s political symbols have to do with either one of them? Not much, I’m afraid, except that they’re all on paper; that was apparently the criterion used to select the work in the unpresumptuously-titled group show, “Drawings & Paintings on Paper.”

    Well, perhaps there was another connection; most of the works do contain representational imagery, which may be another reason for their being shown together. Imagism—ah, yes. But the images—from Jack Barth’s Gothic charcoal-and-ink scenes,

  • Alexis Smith

    When you walk into Alexis Smith’s rendition of what these United States are all about, or were about between the wars, you enter through an arch in a white picket fence. Silhouettes of houses, and trees, either cut-outs or painted directly on the wall, are presented with pithy excerpts from Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, and Nathanael West’s Day of the Locust. All of the pictures and the text are about American middle-class desires and illusions, as embodied in images from a mythic past. On the rear wall, there is a looming silhouette of an ocean liner from the days

  • Agnes Martin

    There is nothing new about Agnes Martin’s new paintings, nothing new because they do not show a departure from one style to another. There is a sense of perpetual advent to them, of something continually coming into being. She is a master at evoking temporal drama from minimal form. Landscape has influenced the work; vast ground is represented concisely in unfettered line and color.

    This show consisted of eight paintings, each 6 by 6 feet, composed of delicate horizontal graphite lines marking bands of gesso-muted, whitish colors, tinted with pink, blue and yellow. Each is untitled and numbered,

  • Jannis Kounellis

    So different from the experience of Martin’s paintings, there is never one predictable, refined moment of recognition when viewing Jannis Kounellis’ work. The method and ideology manifest in his work pay homage to a complicated, unresolved condition. His recurring images (fire, water, animals) refer to Judeo-Christian ritual and sacrifice, and to mystical belief. Steeped in European tradition, Kounellis “paints” idiosyncratic images.

    In two rooms, lining perpendicular walls, were a series (seven in one room, nine in the other) of India ink drawings on heavy yellowish paper of repetitive, circular