Joseph Masheck

  • Frank Bowling

    Frank Bowling showed ten paintings from this year, some of them very large. He deals in juicy coloristic delectation; rich stained hues soak into expanses of canvas, settling the pigment in delicate but vivid deposits. Masked rectilinear bands, sometimes heightened by metallic paint, introduce an organizing armature without repressing the flow of pigment and its velvety residue across them. Other means of paint application involve more conventionally Expressionist dripping and splattering, but the fluid play of paint against and across the taped bands is more to the point. It is a virtue of

  • Turku Trajan

    Turku Trajan’s art is not the kind of thing I expect to like, but I was pleasantly surprised. Trajan’s (1887–1959) idiosyncratic sculpture was contemporary with Abstract Expressionist painting in New York. As with Ryder in earlier painting, one deduces a reclusive turn of mind and an impatient ignorance of the properties of materials. The sculptures here, some of them quite large—Pietà measures over five feet—are made of Keen’s Cement, an all too crumbly substance that takes on added overtones of melancholy from the coexistence of ephemerality with massiveness—like Ryder’s thick and heavy, but

  • Gene Davis

    Gene Davis’ show of recent paintings filled both the uptown and downtown Fischbach galleries. That in itself I am beginning to notice as an issue. There is a certain 57th-Street imperialism in many of these colossal, uptown and downtown shows, at the expense of the Soho ideal. This is not just a question of price and marketing, but, less visibly, it is a matter of access to exhibitions for new artists and of a bearish withdrawal of confidence from unfamiliar art in general. Perhaps this became apparent to me at this point because of problems that have always bothered me in Gene Davis’ own art.

  • Hans Richter

    The career of Hans Richter is so long and distinguished that if we think of him as a filmmaker, a historian of Dada, and then remember his own work as a Dadaist, we still may not acknowledge his present-day activity. Two exhibitions of Richter’s work ran in late November: one of earlier work, at Denise René, and the other of recent work, across the street at Betty Parsons.

    Richter is one of the ranking draftsmen of his time, his crayon Abstraction of 1919 (illus. in his Dada; Art and Anti-Art) being one of the outstanding drawings of this century. The Denise René show included a large array of

  • The New York School: A Cultural Reckoning

    Dore Ashton, The New York School: A Cultural Reckoning (New York: The Viking Press, 1972).

    DORE ASHTON HAS WRITTEN a book about the collective life and concerns of the Abstract Expressionist painters in New York. The New York School: a Cultural Reckoning gets off to a discouraging start, but picks up gradually, involving us more and more in some of the main preoccupations of the New York art world from the Depression to the 1950s.

    What we get is straight reportage, which benefits from intramural knowledge, but we sometimes wish Ashton had used her control of inside dope to speculate on implications.

  • Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

    In an informative exhibition of 27 photographs by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, the works are recent facsimiles made at the Hochschule für Fotographie in Munich from originals that date from 1922–39. They convincingly claim to be scrupulous copies, even to paper type and the nuances of exposure in printing. They also accurately follow the originals in the placement of the image on the sheet, so that the integrity of the edge is preserved, and no jazzy cropping intervenes.

    The business of the edges of the image is vital. When an adequate formulation of modernism in photography is arrived at, a consideration

  • Jud Fine

    Jud Fine’s recent sculptures work with bamboo poles, and tubes in analogy with bamboo poles. Fine seems concerned with differences between them when assembled, or only grouped into configurations, and when they only serve by standing and waiting. The drawings are mainly studies for the poles, although there are also alarmingly compulsive exercises in building up a palimpsest of written and overwritten text; both kinds make every effort not to please. Yet, that’s what they end up doing.

    The major sculpture here, Analogy, consists of an array of the bamboo and bamboo-shaped poles, together with a

  • Tony Berlant

    The Whitney showed four of Tony Berlant’s architectural sculptures under the title “The Marriage of New York and Athens.” Each involved the toylike simplification of the concept of a Greek temple. In each case, the temple is faced differently, in each it is a different size, and each deals in a different way with the cagelike interior space. The basic form is actually only minimally like that of a classical temple, identifiable by its pedimental ends and its evenly spaced peripheral supports. So there seems even at the start to be a playful (and perhaps mock-functionalist) paring down of the

  • e.e. cummings

    The Gotham Book Mart Gallery is showing paintings and drawings by e.e. cummings. Cummings was an uneven artist. His best art seems to have been done before the promise of his writing fully bloomed.

    Gotham has a tremendous range of cummings’ work culled from the estate of his widow, only a part of which can hang at one time. It is a pleasure to look through stacks and stacks of pictures and occasionally to come across things as intense and lovely as the ink wash drawings Fuchnal and Landscape. The junk in between makes looking all the more fun.

    Most of the portraits, including paintings and drawings

  • Al Held

    Al Held had a big show at the André Emmerich galleries mounted uptown and downtown at the same time. The black-on-white pictures and the white-on-black ones relate like black- and red-figured vase painting. Held’s works have never made me feel grateful in any way for encountering them. They don’t tell me anything, and they don’t make me feel good either.

    Held’s light, structural, angular grids sometimes remind me of Stuart Davis, as much in their patternistic jumble on the surface as in some of their internal forms. But I would rather look at a Stuart Davis any day.

    I find Held’s tricks with

  • Kimber Smith

    Kimber Smith has been around for a long time, although mostly in Europe, which is why he may seem like a new face. In fact, he has been around so long—he was born in 1929—that while his painterly abstraction is fully contemporary, it actually rests on the experience of sharing in the original flowering of Abstract-Expressionist painting in the United States.

    His new paintings from 1972 and 1973 are mostly loose and light, and relaxed in an offhand way. That, combined with his expatriation, may suggest Cy Twombly, but the flavor is more like Matisse—when he charms by contented laziness, putting

  • Alexander Archipenko

    The Pace Gallery held an exhibition of 25 sculptures and groups of drawings and prints by Alexander Archipenko (1887–1964). Archipenko was right in there in the early days of Cubism, having been a member of the Section d’Or from its founding in 1912 and exhibiting with that group as late as 1921. At least one of the sculptures here, Portuguiesen, a bronze of 1916, parallels a painting by Delaunay, another member of the Section d’Or—the Portuguese Woman of the same year. In fact, the parallel bandlike arms of Archipenko’s figure, one angular and the other curving, are like the curving chromatic