Joan Casademont

  • 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

  • Eleanor Antin

    One initially couldn’t be sure of just how seriously ELEANOR ANTIN’s Eleanora Antinova wanted us to take her. Inviting a small group of people to a typically modern gallery space to sip sherry among the potted plants and to listen to this alleged “once celebrated black ballerina of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes” share her recollections at first seemed the height of artistic contrivance. But Antin, in a discreet short black dress and pumps, didn’t perform in the predictably self-conscious manner. When the ballerina’s funny but sad monologue finished, it was, as it is with any good actress, hard to

  • John Baldessari

    It was even more difficult to know how seriously JOHN BALDESSARI wished us to take his “Fugitive Essays”; perhaps because the confusion, even in the end, was not so bittersweet. The subject of the humor appeared to be characteristic Baldessari—banal or conventional ways of ordering information. But Baldessari’s elaborate alternative did not point us in the direction of another: the methodology misfired.

    On the gallery walls, at three different heights, were photographs of three different “types” of information, in three different types of corresponding frames. One didn’t have to decipher

  • Ed Ruscha

    Among all of the mannered but “impersonal” imagery with a capital “I” prevalent in contemporary painting, ED RUSCHA’s “Grand Horizontals” elicit more than detached amusement. He has taken his culturally locked signs and phrases to a larger format (some of the canvases are 13 feet wide). They still hover, isolated and ironic, but they become surprisingly personal, even intrusive, once past the humor. In the paintings without the “familiar” phrases, there are allusions to time or place, their wistfulness maximized by the emotive use he makes of the expansive canvas space. If his earlier isolated,

  • Judy Rifka

    Eclecticism—not to be confused with this year’s fashion—informs Judy Rifka’s painting from the series, “80 Views of West Broadway.” Rifka doesn’t rehash old points, though her approach shows a careful consideration of color and form. The catch is that the work appears very contemporary, since its “accessibility” carries a distinctly New Wave sensibility.

    These seven paintings are of a limited palette. On grey backgrounds, Rifka arranges, contrasts and composes silhouettes, shapes, and reverse silhouettes of other shades of flat acrylic grey, white, red, yellow, orange and black. The complex is