Joseph Masheck

  • James de France

    What James de France has on view are “canvases,” but not exactly paintings. They are, to be sure, made only of canvas on rectangular stretchers, and they are worked with nothing else than paint. But each work, hanging horizontally on the wall, is punctured by twenty-five (also horizontal) oblong slots through which we see the tinted light reflected off colors (painted on the back of the canvas) as it bounces off the white of the wall. We are thus made to marvel at the seeming immateriality of what we behold. The problem is in avoiding the suspicion of simple cleverness. De France seems almost

  • Albert Stadler

    Albert Stadler’s color paintings, all from this year, are sensitive, even moody. They take on the task of color—in fact, a multiplicity of color—while attempting to leave shape behind. In this way they are similar to De France’s attempt to manage hue apart from pigment, but here the optical-esthetic problem is kept under polite control, not only as far as the mechanics of the effect is concerned (the question of what new thing a piece of canvas can be made to do is impertinent here), but also in the way theory is kept in check by practice. Thus, the fact that we could even imagine Berkeley or

  • Teddy’s Taste

    THE HISTORY OF THE ARTISTIC relations between America and Europe around the turn of the century is a tissue of clichés. Perhaps the most recalcitrant of these holds that, probably until the Armory Show of 1913, and surely at least until Alfred Stieglitz began to show modern European art in New York in 1908, this country was devoid of attitudes at all conducive to Post–Impressionistic developments and was simply ignorant of modernism in painting. I want to take up a single strand of this problem now, the way in which Theodore Roosevelt responded to the “International Exhibition of Modern Art,”

  • Morris Louis

    While it is undeniable that the paintings of Morris Louis excel in optical luminescence and colorism, I have sometimes felt that putting them too confidently in the Post-painterly bag does them a kind of violence of historical reduction. In this I feel confirmed or at least encouraged by the recent exhibition of seven of his paintings at the Lawrence Rubin Gallery. Certainly works like these, in their latter-day rayonnance, belong to the party of Matisse. In Untitled B, painted in 1954, the very year of Matisse’s death, there is even a whole area on the right-hand side of Matisse Blue, almost

  • Michael Steiner

    A large group of steel sculptures by Michael Steiner, all dating from 1969, showing at the Marlborough Gallery, incorporate some Minimal attitudes and grant to these a greater permanence (of statement as well as of material) than they often take when left to their own devices. It’s all very post-Smith. Pre-rusting even gives the Cor-Ten steel the look which David Smith’s Cubi are only now gradually taking on. But it is also something quite formidable in itself.

    Oddly, but fruitfully, Steiner’s work relates to the most British side of Anthony Caro. Pieces like Bowie, Low (ten feet long; only 3

  • “Black Artists 1970”

    In a group show called “Black Artists 1970," at the Visual Arts Gallery, only three figures out of sixteen evidence any talent. Bill Howell achieves a hieroglyphic, iconic expressionism in his Growth of a New Life and a sensitive, poetic imagism in his Twelve Seeds of Truth; neither of these is in a mode that I enjoy, but I can grasp their competence. Romare Bearden’s Morning collage includes one very fine Légeresque female figure, but the piece suffers from an unbalanced and overcomplicated, pseudo-De Stijl background. Perhaps the best single piece is a stone head by Warren L. Harris, of his