Lawrence Alloway

  • On Style: An Examination of Roy Lichtenstein’s Development

    THE ART OF ROY LICHTENSTEIN sets up a situation in which style is subject matter and governed by the same rules of discourse as iconography. The subject matter of Blam at one level is war, but Lichtenstein has not invented his subject; he has taken it from an existing image in a comic book. The original has been considerably revised to arrive at Lichtenstein’s composition in which both plane and explosion radiate from a common center in the picture. However, through these changes he has not abandoned the recognizable style of the original, though with an important qualification. The outlines,

  • Color, Culture, The Stations: Notes on the Barnett Newman Memorial Exhibition

    I.

    IN OCTOBER 1949, A NEWSPAPER REVIEWER writing about a group show at Betty Parsons Gallery described Newman’s contribution as a “mural size canvas painted an unrelieved tomato red with a perfectly straight narrow band of deeper red cleaving the canvas in two.”1 This clipping has a double interest: it is evidence that Newman was early with a big (“mural size”), one-color (“unrelieved tomato red”) painting and it recovers something of the contemporary prejudice that Newman’s work was antipainterly. If, as seems likely, the painting referred to is Onement III, 1949, it does not look bare and

  • Peter Forakis

    PETER FORAKIS’S WOODEN SCULPUTRES of 1960–61, of which almost none survive, were loose-jointed compilations of lumber, bolted and nailed together, and painted in tough, sweet carnival colors. Found raw material, often holding traces of its pre-art status, was pushed and heaped into art. Improvisatory work with casual materials is part of a city sensibility that marked recent art. On one hand, it has connections to the Junk Culture phase of Pop art and, on the other, there are links to the physicality of Abstract Expressionist paint. (Abstract Expressionist, in this sense, is only de Kooning and

  • Chuck Ginnever

    IT IS CURIOUS THAT, at so late a date as this, it is possible to write an introductory article on the sculpture of Chuck Ginnever. He has a clear eight years of significant production behind him but the importance of his work has not been recognized (nor does he have a gallery). It is typical that he was not represented in the Los Angeles County Museum’s American Sculpture of the Sixties. One problem, perhaps, is that he emerged between two publicized phases of recent sculpture, along with Peter Forakis, Tom Doyle, and (the one exception to the rule of comparative neglect) Mark di Suvero. To

  • The Biomorphic Forties

    Bio: “a combining form denoting relation to, or connection with, life, vital phenomena, or living organisms.”

    Morphology: “the features, collectively, comprised in the form and structure of an organism or any of its parts.”

    THE MOVEMENTS OF 20TH-CENTURY ART, to the extent that they began with artists’ acts of self-identification, in opposition either to another group of artists or against a public made grandiose and threatening as the Philistines, tend to stay monolithic. Efforts are made to unify these discrete movements, like different shaped beads on a string of “the classical spirit” or “the

  • Barnett Newman

    Born New York City, 1905.

    Studied at Art Students League, New York City, with Duncan Smith, John Sloan, William Von Schlegell, 1922–26.

    BA, City College Of New York. Graduate work at Cornell University.

    Married Annalee Greenhouse, 1936. 1947–48, Associate Editor of “The Tiger’s Eye,” Westport, Conn.

    With Baziotes, Motherwell, Rothko, founded school on East 8th St., New York City, “Subjects of the Artist,” out of which grew “The Club.”

    Lives In New York City.

    ONE WAY TO APPROACH THE PAINTING OF BARNETT NEWMAN is by raising the question, do you believe in masterpieces? This is more problematic than

  • Sculpture as Cliché

    COMPARED TO THE RECORD of painters in the last twenty years, how do the sculptors look?

    There are two main motives for praising recent sculpture, one negative and one optimistic. (1) It is lauded by critics who, for one reason or another, have become dissatisfied with painting. By eulogizing work in three dimensions, they can put down, or obliquely instruct, painters without seeming to be merely de­structive. (2) The wonderful world of three dimensions is celebrated, too, by critics who relish the fine state of painting, and who cannot believe that sculpture should not be swinging, too.

    In fact,

  • Gorky

    THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF GORKY’S DEATH have not yet been published fully though they are still talked about 14 years after his suicide. Awareness of the anguish that led to his death has influenced the criticism of Gorky’s art, feeding both a high evaluation of the late work and the comparative denigration of the early work. It is a traditional idea in art criticism that, to quote Jacopo Salvia’s letter to Michelangelo, “great men, and of courageous spirit, take greater heart under adversity and become more powerful.”1 William Seitz, in his book on the Gorky exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art,