Joseph Masheck

  • Yes! Says Arakawa

    CROCE, IN HIS AESTHETIC (1902) maintains that “the much-sought-for science of language, in so far as what it contains is reducible to philosophy, is nothing but Aesthetic.”1 Croce’s own idealist emphasis on purely mental esthetic operations adumbrates Conceptualism, just as his preoccupation with art/language problems has obvious contemporary pertinence. Yet his statement oddly retains significance even for those bored by the puritanical immateriality of Conceptualism and put off by art that attaches itself to a type of philosophy that fiddles while Rome burns. In the passage in question Croce

  • Helen Frankenthaler

    If we didn’t know that Helen Frankenthaler is a very fine painter tures which she showed at the Emmerich Gallery were by a young artist subjecting himself/herself to severe restraint so as to make only subtle mistakes rather than gross ones. But we do know who she is, and we come away disappointed.

    There are close relations between Frankenthaler’s sculptures and her painting. Heart of London Map, for instance, is much like the central motif of her beautiful painting Chairman of the Board (1971), subsequently mounted on a Smith- and Caro-like drumhead, which in turn rests on an open cylindrical

  • Charles Ginnever

    Charles Ginnever has three outdoor sculptures on Hammarskjold Plaza through February, two room-sized works and one large piece that seems designed for—or at least intelligently adjusted to—the site.

    The last time I went to Hammarskjold Plaza it was for an Irish demonstration. I mention this because the sculpture site serves, I think, a certain worldly function. Hammarskjold Plaza is one rally terminus of a loop that spares the actual United Nations site the hassle of regular demonstrations, the other end being the small park below the Isaiah wall at 42nd Street. The outdoor sculpture setting is

  • Boris Lovet-Lorski

    How Boris Lovet-Lorski ever got to be made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor must be a question purely of social history, because it is not accountable to art. Lovet-Lorski was born in Russia in 1894; he emigrated to America in 1920 and was naturalized in 1925. I myself am not unmoved by the Art Deco style, but I had trouble swallowing this. The presence of Les Levine’s compelling documentary show on the Irish problem on the upper floor of the museum at the same time may, I admit, have affected my appreciation of Lovet-Lorski’s sculpture. It was as if this material had been shown simultaneously

  • Les Levine

    Les Levine’s show, “The Troubles: An Artist’s Document of Ulster,” also at Finch College, was an exhibit more in the legal sense, or in that of pedagogical museums of history, than an art exhibition on the situation in Northern Ireland. Photographs of Catholic and Protestant working people and British soldiers, in the various situations in which they find themselves today, appeared behind screens of barbed wire like that of the concentration camps used to intern Irishmen suspected of I.R.A. activities or of violence. Other rooms provided printed materials used by the various political factions,

  • Robert Indiana

    The Denise René Gallery showed works by Robert Indiana in November and December, the first one-man show for this artist since 1966. A lot has changed in this city and the world since then, but not much has changed in Indiana’s art. I found this engaging, however, and more a question of consistency than of bald stubbornness. If Robert Indiana is a “Johnny One-Note,” he does get an almost oriental range out of his single string.

    The show consisted of two series, Decade Autoportraits (1971)—ten paintings each spanning the years 1960–69 in the artist’s life—together with a huge linear, sequential

  • Gastone Novelli

    Nine paintings by Gastone Novelli (1925–68) all from the last year or two of his life, hung in The Museum of Modern Art in late November and early December. Despite the superficial laxity—or even fiddling sloppiness—of their facture, Novelli’s paintings escape from the tedious decadence of the European post-Surrealist situation. Four or five of the works, in their extreme narrowness and verticality and their patternization, evoke Viennese Sezession painting: Novelli was born in Vienna, and there may be something to the analogy.

    But if Novelli himself was interested in “secession” as an act he

  • Albert E. Gallatin

    Paintings by Albert E. Gallatin from the ’30s were shown in November at the Zabriskie Gallery. For the purpose of the exhibition “the ’30s” meant 1936–40, simply because Gallatin was doing Realist painting for the ten years before that. When you come down to it, the period covered was really 1936–39, except for one collage that wasn’t finished by New Year’s. I mention this because it may indicate the beginnings of an overenthusiasm that we could do without. It is true that a lot of decent American modernist painting got overlooked. But we can already sense the beginnings of an indiscriminate

  • Erté

    Erté comes from a generation in which you had to wait a very long time before you could expect to be revived. Somehow he always knew the day would come. Hundreds of examples of his inexhaustible supply of drawings were on display at the Rizzoli Bookstore in November.

    It is true that Erté has a very special, very narrow charm. But I don’t take readily to most of what he has done, mainly because he produces that offensive product, the art surrogate. Erté is an old Peter Max with an overlay of nostalgia, peddled at ripoff prices. I find him even more annoyingly flaccid than Beardsley, without the

  • Robert Motherwell

    Robert Motherwell showed nine paintings, all but one from this year, at the Lawrence Rubin Gallery. This artist has an assertive persistence about him, as though in moments of declined appreciation he were on the verge of saying, “You won’t have Bob Motherwell to kick around anymore.” To some extent most artists share the same dilemma, when theirown growth outlives the immediate interests of history. Motherwell did make substantial contributions to the New York School in its heroic period, and on a high level. The rhetorical aspects of his Elegies may not seem to the point now, but they have

  • Dan Christensen

    Dan Christensen, at Andre Emmerich’s uptown gallery, spreads his Rococo tints with a squeegee into slick flat swipes that run the length of the canvas but bend in their repetitive curves like the regular but wavering overlapping trails of an ice-scraper on a hockey court. These vertical paintings relate very closely to works by Olitski, but the comparison is generally on the order of a weak Soulages to a strong Kline, and given the initial delicacy of the Olitskis in question, a certain flabbiness results.

    Christensen’s stroke is by nature continuous and necessitates virtuosity, since a severe

  • Jake Berthot

    Normally “derivative” is a pejorative word, but derivation is the substance of tradition. Jake Berthot’s art is related to the work of painters as distinct as Johns, Motherwell, and Twombly, but it is not merely eclectic. His paintings at O.K. Harris suggest other artists simply because of mutual concerns. When his compositions suggest Motherwell it is because Berthot is also interested in the subdivision of a loosely painted canvas by a simple linear form—in Scrupf (1972), for instance, by an inner rectangle sharing the top edge of the vertical painting with the concrete edge of the canvas,