Joseph Masheck

  • Jackson Pollock, Adolf Gottlieb, Arshile Gorky, Karel Appel, Joan Mitchell, and James Brooks

    Martha Jackson, dealer, enthusiast, and friend of many of the best artists of the New York School for a generation, died leaving behind a large and remarkable art collection, nearly 200 works, selections from which appeared at the Finch College Museum of Art. The show, first mounted at the University of Maryland, will be at the Albright-Knox in Buffalo after the New Year. It represents a large part of the collection, although a number of important pieces had to be left behind because of sheer size, and so as not to make the assembly overcrowded. This is an exceptionally sensitive and diverse

  • Joseph Goto

    Joseph Goto showed 23 sculptures. The works, dating from the mid ’50s to the mid ’60s, are of steel and are mostly table-sized, although there were also photographs of two recent, large-scale public pieces (one being installed for a stint in the little square across from Lincoln Center).

    During the decade in question Goto worked in a plastic, even malerisch, expressionist mode. He hovers stylistically between men like Lipton and Ferber on one side and Smith on the other. His emotionalism is less assaulting than the former but less elegantly resolved than the latter. The expressionism reveals

  • Rube Goldberg

    In Rube Goldberg’s show of cartoons and sculpture I had hoped to encounter some of those inventive and amusing contraptions that made Goldberg famous. For in some ways the nuttiness of his high phase is a natural, homegrown Dadaism, more than simply a parallel to the more intellectual varieties and wider in its appeal, like the relation in music between Spike Jones and the famous German piece called Bahnfahrt. It seems more apt than accidental that once Goldberg actually contributed a drawing to one of the New York Dada periodicals—The Blind Man, if I remember right. Unfortunately this was not

  • “Paintings From Midwestern University Collections”

    “Paintings from Midwestern University Collections” is an exhibition of 76 canvases organized by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, an organization formed by the Big Ten universities—plus Chicago—which refers to itself as a “consortium” engaged in scientific and cultural cooperation. The show appeared at Wildenstein’s through October and now begins a tour of the member campuses that will end in the spring. The paintings, which vary widely in quality, date from the 17th to the 20th centuries and belong to the respective universities.

    I was drawn to the exhibition partly because I am

  • Ellsworth Kelly at the Modern

    IF WE AREN’T JADEDLY INTOLERANT of painting, if we can overcome certain physical obstacles, and if we can cut through the wordy, prosaic, disguised obviousness of the catalogue essay, we come away from the exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art seeing Ellsworth Kelly as one of the most remarkable of all contemporary American artists. Like Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Morgan Russell, he is a highly chromatic American painter who developed his modernism in Paris, although he is more of a loner and individualist, and both more conceptual and more empirical, than they were. Similarly, Kelly’s concern

  • The Jules Olitski Retrospective

    A LARGE RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION of the works of Jules Olitski, which took place at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts this spring, traveled to Buffalo during the summer, and opens at the Whitney in September. It consists of 75 paintings by this most remarked and problematic present-day painter. It introduces us to Olitski’s origins, acquaints us with his range, and provides a convenient occasion for exercising our own responses—all the more readily because with such volume an artist’s limitations also show.

    The career begins with thick, earth-toned spackle reliefs from the late 1950s. Their similarities

  • William Wiley

    William T. Wiley makes funky paintings, sculptures, and graphics. In his recent show I was much more taken by the sculptures than by the rest. The paintings sometimes look labored, which conflicts with the rather delightful kind of raunchiness that this art is generally about. Maybe it is also that the two-dimensional works look too pointless and disposable, whereas anything identifiable as sculpture, no matter how ramshackle, tends to evidence at least the most rudimentary act of artistic will. By comparison, the funky portrait paintings of Peter Saul look perfectly self-sufficient, even if in

  • Joyce Kozloff

    Joyce Kozloff’s show at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery included a half dozen paintings together with small groups of drawings and lithographs. The basic procedure is an assertive geometrical compartmentalization. The compartments—which are mostly rectangular and belong to bricklike horizontal registers, although diagonals generate some triangular forms—show an independent handling of a highly patternistic character. The interest is in the way the compartments, while dealt with separately, contribute to rather than distract from the unity of surface.

    Basically this unity depends upon the treating of

  • Cecil Beaton

    Cecil Beaton’s show of portrait photographs at the Sonnabend Gallery was so vapidly chic that it quickly gave rise to a play of ideas. Beaton’s portraits fall into very clear categories involving interesting oppositions. There are hideous, arrogant, nasty society women as against men who are much more likely to be forthright, dignified, and, in one way or another, attractive. Both these types are opposed to sitters—men and women—of creative and intellectual accomplishment. One takes offense when one realizes that to Beaton these human varieties apparently imply credentials exchangeable at par

  • John Cage

    A sixtieth-birthday retrospective concert of the works of John Cage was given by the Performers’ Committee for Twentieth-Century Music at Columbia University on March 7th. Cage’s music has always been pertinent to art, partly because it is the output of an esthetician as much as of a musician, and partly because, like Rauschenberg’s painting, it relates to both Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, that is to visual styles. Cage’s concept of chance, for instance, operates half out of a Zen-like openness to the accidents of execution and half like a quasi-Dadaistic embrace of preexisting actuality,

  • Claes Oldenburg

    Claes Oldenburg showed a group of recent prints at Knoedler’s along with some studies for a few of them. There is a way in which Oldenburg’s drawing style benefits greatly from a kind of lax academicism. The looseness of his crayon line and the happy slosh of his wash just don’t mind looking like homemade fashion illustration. Of course in Oldenburg’s orbit there is every reason to like that idea in its own right. It could even be argued that in his projects for monuments, which monstrify familiar objects, Oldenburg belongs to the advertising tradition of giant-size products. There is a specifically

  • Lester Johnson

    Lester Johnson showed a large number of recent paintings at the Martha Jackson Gallery that bug me. It’s not because they are representational either, since the real tension is not so much between representational and pure painterly values as between fine art and an almost historicizing kind of funkiness. Let me explain. There are obvious similarities with Léger, including crowds of city people with tubular limbs and bowler hats, and even an attitude toward the figure as a manipulable mannequin. Yet there is an embraced clumsiness in the assembly of groups and a deliberate spatial inconsistency