John Yau

  • Marilyn Minter

    In the mid ’80s, Marilyn Minter situated herself among postwar European and American artists who made use of pop images while critiquing pop culture. Often, these critiques were light and off-handed, humorous and generous, rather than cool and parsimonious. The difference between Minter and the Europeans—Sigmar Polke, say—is not simply a matter of age and stature; it has to do with the way each thinks about painting. Polke or Jiri Georg Doukopil, for example, looks back to European history; each is trying to revive what essentially died (call it imagination or culture) in World War II. Minter’s

  • Hung Liu

    Hung Liu’s exhibition here consisted of paintings, drawings, and mixed-media assemblages. What was evident in all of them was the artist’s attempt to transform memory and rage (for Liu, they go hand in hand) into a visual statement that is neither naive nor sentimental. Rather than revealing overtly personal memories, which could make her appear to be a helpless and isolated victim, Liu depicts the various historical and social forces which have implicated her for being both Chinese and a woman, and explores how these forces affected her life in China (where she was born in 1948) and in America

  • Jean Feinberg

    Whereas meaning in art was once pronounced, codified, and doted upon by both artists and theoreticians alike, it is now increasingly marginalized. In the vacuum where meaning was once believed to have resided, all sorts of other possibilities have rushed in—the end of history, anti utopian critiques, and the objectification of meaninglessness are three of the theoretical agendas that are currently espoused most. The tide of fashion has turned, and abstract painters have gone from being revered figures to being highly suspect practitioners. If the possibility of meaning no longer exists, the

  • Lydia Dona

    Until recently, Lydia Dona was a restless, painterly archeologist, who moved thought fully but swiftly from one site of Modernist abstraction to another. From 1985 to ’86, she investigated a spatiality that had its contemporary origins in the work of Roberto Matta and Yves Tanguy. In 1987, she began investigating the possibilities of allover composition, and her patterned space took as its departure point the early work of Larry Poons. Dona has changed her work, but this recent change––it is more of a breakthrough––is the most significant one she has made to date. She plays the viscosity of oil

  • Joan Mitchell

    Joan Mitchell has continued to develop and to paint without relying on critical theory as a buttress for her work. Her development over the past 40 years has been marked by an increasing mastery of line, color, and placement. Mitchell’s recent exhibition included two- and three-paneled paintings, many of which are large in scale. Her inventory of gestural brushwork includes roiling strokes of lush paint, thin arid lines, juicy slaps of color, calligraphic glyphs, and knot-like lines that hover between shape and erasure. Her compositions are made up of specific strokes of color, each of which is

  • David Reed

    In 1974, David Reed began investigating the brushstroke in a series of vertical paintings. Between 1974 and 1980, he worked on a number of two-paneled, horizontal paintings. In many of these, he would make a white stroke against a black ground in one panel, and repeat it in the next one. In other paintings from this period, he would juxtapose one panel (dark against light or vice versa) with another (a monochromatic plane). If Reed’s early paintings were not always successful, it was not because they were lacking in ambitiousness, but because their seams were too apparent.

    Since 1980, Reed’s

  • Ulrich Ruckriem

    Ulrich Rückriem’s austere, abstract sculptures have seldom been shown or written about in the United States. His recent exhibition coincides with a renewed interest in contemporary abstract art that makes use of Minimalist and post-Minimalist precedents. Rückriem began his career as a stonemason and worked on the restoration of Cologne Cathedral. In 1962, he began working as a sculptor and made mostly figurative work. In the late ’60s, after seeing the work of Carl Andre, Richard Serra, and others, he reevaluated his approach to sculpture, and developed a conceptual program that enabled him to

  • Giulio Turcato

    Giulio Turcato is one of the few postwar Italian artists (along with Carla Accardi and Emilio Vedova) to reconnect painting to its roots in prewar European abstraction. He has done so by developing a non-programmatic, improvisatory approach to composition, color, and materials. This open-ended attitude and receptivity has enabled him to build upon the work and thinking of André Masson and Wassily Kandinsky. One of the keys to Turcato’s accomplishment is his ability to employ mundane materials in a precise, yet imaginative manner. He has used both sand and a highly-refined crystalline powder to

  • Guy Goodwin

    Guy Goodwin has been exhibiting in New York for a little more than a decade, during which time his work has undergone radical change. From the late ’70s until the early ’80s, he applied thick layers of paint to the smooth surfaces of shaped wooden forms, which were then assembled into high-relief painting-objects. Clearly, Goodwin was being literal in his conflation of paint and the construction of painting, yet he had more in common with Milton Resnick, say, than with Frank Stella. His work of this period was both blunt and inelegant. By the mid ’80s, he was dissatisfied with insisting on

  • Li Lin Lee

    Li Lin Lee works in enamel on square pieces of wood or copper. His vocabulary consists of decorative patterns, allusive motifs, abstract signs, simple forms, and mathematical symbols, and his palette ranges from dusty sunset red and burnt orange to winter melon green and deep midnight blue. Spatially, the compositions can shift from depthless atmospheric fields to hard thin layers of paint. While none of these particular processes or materials are extraordinary in themselves, Lee’s way with them is another matter altogether.

    In his approach to painting, Lee seems influenced by the Surrealists’

  • Marilyn Lerner

    For an artist to develop an abstract vocabulary in which each element has both a personal and an archetypal meaning usually takes years. One could also say that a development of this sort (slow, unpredictable, and having little to do with fashionable styles) is in itself a critique both of the formal codifications of abstraction and of consumer culture’s treatment of abstraction as decorative instance. Marilyn Lerner, now in her mid 40s, shows signs of being able to sail through the Scylla (formalism) and Charybdis (decoration) of abstraction in order to reach a realm of specific meaning. Lerner

  • Jasper Johns

    This exhibition brought together all but one of Jasper Johns’ map paintings, as well as several prints and works on paper. For all the attention paid to Johns’ work in recent years, there has been no attempt to challenge the widely accepted view that the artist is a hermetic formalist. Roberta Bernstein, whose essay on Johns is excerpted in the catalogue for this show, continues this treatment by stating, “The map is a subject which could be interpreted to have personal meaning, if certain areas were made to stand out from others. But Johns paints the map the way he paints all of his other works: