Lisa Liebmann

  • Louise Dahl-Wolfe

    Louise Dahl-Wolfe’s first published photograph was bought by Vanity Fair in 1933 and is titled Mrs. Ramsey. Dominated by a vegetable, the photogenic if inedible turban gourd, yet evidently concerned with the actuality of Mrs. Ramsey, an Appalachian woman wizened beyond gender, its effect is that of “still life with hardship.” Dahl-Wolfe, who chose the pictures in this exhibition and provided blueprints for their display, may like it for this very reason. Her encomium to young photographers runs along the lines of “study painting, learn to design,” as she once did, and this picture must strike


    ‘RETRO” IS EVERYWHERE, FROM last season’s painting retrospectives (particularly of the painting of the ’60s, a time when performance became a major part of the art world) to pop culture’s endless “remake” mentality as manifested in Hollywood sequels, theatrical restagings, and television spinoffs and repeats. Keeping • performance in line with retro, a growing number of performance revivals of all types have been staged during the last couple of years, ranging from historical reconstructions of Judson Dance Theater shows, Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus dances, and ’60s happenings and fluxus events

  • Philip Pearlstein

    Twenty years ago Philip Pearlstein was a painterly painter approaching 40, with a career that had already spanned 20 years and encompassed prizes in two consecutive Scholastic Magazine National High School Art Exhibitions, a stint in the army, a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Institute of Technology, a bachelor apartment in New York shared with Andy Warhol, marriage, inclusion in an “Emerging Talent” show assembled by Clement Greenberg, a master’s degree in art history from New York University (thesis on Picabia), a trip out West, a summer in Montauk, another in Maine, writing for art magazines,

  • “The Comic Art Show”

    One Sunday back in 1930 Uncle Walt and Skeezix go to a museum and decide to take a stroll through a fauvist landscape where, in a Cubist vale, a figure poised like Picasso’s absinthe drinker tells them “there is no way out.” Dissolving into paint, Uncle Walt and Skeezix head toward the horizon. This episode, from Frank King’s long-running comic strip, Gasoline Alley, was but one of many plums in this summer’s “Comic Art Show,” curated by John Carlin and Sheena Wagstaff, two Helena Rubinstein Fellows in the Whitney’s Independent Study Program.

    Except for the earliest strips (such as a 1913

  • Alice Aycock

    The Thousand and One Nights in the Mansion of Bliss is what Alice Aycock called her most recent installation, a six-part progression of mostly metal constructions, based, the artist tells us, on game theories. It was an extravaganza, involving some 13 credited production assistants, and with all its creaking, clanking, huffing, and puffing—phenomena we have come to expect of this artist—it was visually well-suited to its magico-mysterio title. The installation was fluent, its sections individually resonant, and its occupation of this large space. was a carefully calibrated essay in post-industrial

  • Susan Rothenberg

    Susan Rothenberg’s oil paintings are attractive, in the sense the term conveys when describing a room full of casually well-dressed people. They are remarkably and quite unfailingly good-looking, and they function as visual and intellectual balm as one surveys them. They have social ease, are intelligent and well-educated, pleasant and serious. They are beyond reproach. Attractive through the mouthpiece of a well-bred jaw; money with class.

    What has long bothered me about Rothenberg’s work has something to do with a homogenizing system through which data—art-historical throughlines and conventions

  • Judith Shea

    Judith Shea’s sartorial themes make for elegant, witty sculptures. Whether she casts a dress in bronze, iron, canvas, or any more traditional haberdasher’s material, she winds up with a modern figurative archetype and a succinct accommodation of our two abiding formal referents, human anatomy and the exposed esthetic of minimalism. Shea never strays far from the dressmaker’s dummy or from the standard sectional organization of sewing patterns, which also places her work within shouting distance of the altered ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp and, surprisingly perhaps, a mere whisper away from some

  • David Salle

    David Salle’s paintings look lusher than before. The painted grounds of his canvases remain cinematic—smooth, thin stains that resemble projections—but they are more richly, even luridly pigmented. On the right panel of Painting for Eli, for instance, the contorted face and straining neck of a woman are drawn over a deep, indigo purple, while the left panel consists of a large daisy awkwardly chiseled into light wood, a concoction that is both bluntly simple and characteristically disingenuous. Post-existential eroticized angst and the emotional naiveté of stylistic awkwardness are Salle’s


    We may see what we call the sun, but we have lost Helios forever, and the great orb of the Chaldeans still more. We have lost the cosmos, by coming out of responsive connection with it, and this is our chief tragedy. What is our petty little love of tragedy. What is our petty little love of nature—Nature!!—compared to the ancient magnificent living with the cosmos, and being honored by the cosmos!

    —D.H. Lawrence, Apocalypse, 1932

    AT THIS QUICK AND WEIGHTLESS moment late in the Century of Abstraction, as memory is being edited and transferred to electronic banks, artists from three generations

  • Gérard Garouste

    Gérard Garouste is a stylish, clever gambler. He knows the rules of current international outre-modernisme, and though he has little strategy he bluffs with rhetorical fluency. Garouste, who was initially involved with performance and set design, has only been making paintings for the last three or four years. He expends considerable energy on the task of faking technique, and his compensatory methods are essentially theatrical. Often, for instance, he will recoup an otherwise turgid passage by inserting or superimposing a bit of business—a flourish, a gesture, or an aside. As might be guessed,

  • Fred Sandback

    Fred Sandback’s presence has been recognized for a decade and a half, a period during which he has exhibited frequently and widely but relatively little has been written about him. His work, and to some extent his own terse, hard-to-argue-with statements about it, have been efficient prophylactics against verbal excess. His pieces, he says, are not illusionistic. Indeed, simple linear geometries on paper or in space, realized with metal rods or colored string, offer few illusions, and in fact belie the usual equations made between horizontals and landscape, verticals and the figure. Nor, he

  • Terry Winters

    Terry Winters’ organic forms are wanderers across and within the picture planes. They stop short only at moments of realization. The twenty or so works here, the produce of the last six months, reveal a diarist’s frame of mind, and Winters’ entries on botanical and mineral subjects, if indifferent from the naturalist’s point of view, make a beautiful, studied account of the biology of painting.

    In the small- and middle-sized paintings Winters presents his specimens in varied aspects, at various stages of maturation and dissection, in unpatterned groupings, on subtle but heavily worked grounds.

  • Julian Schnabel

    Julian Schnabel is pursuing his sentimental education further into an area that might be called the miscegenated sublime. He is a Jew with a crush on Catholicism, a New York schoolboy with a crush on Europe. He is an academician whose academy is made up of potentially any major precedent, immediate or remote. Cimabue, Théodore Géricault, Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Michael Tracy, and Robert Motherwell in particular were some of the many cameo presences sniffed or glimpsed in this show, but, as has been clear for some time now, Schnabel’s “cast” is as mutable as it is

  • Keith Haring

    A new mythology is possible in the Space Age. where we will again have heroes and villains, as regards intentions towards this planet. I feel that the future of writing is in Space, not Time.

    —William S. Burroughs

    Keith Haring's creatures, human and not, are basically units, quanta in a pictographic language. After his radiant baby and barking dog images appeared all over the city, Haring began to evolve more complex compositions, scenes with tiers of massed, animated outline figures brandishing, grappling, metamorphosing. Human and animal figures and alien epiphanies joined with snakes who,

  • Sculpture Garden

    Ward’s Island, in addition to being home of the Manhattan Psychiatric Center, is where a population of homeless men hang their hats, and it is a grim, ugly, dramatic mess of a place. A de Chirico– style metaphysical mood pervades it, a mood supplied by the huge, viaduct-shaped, concrete ramp of the Triboro Bridge, which slices into the island’s eastern shore at an almost inconceivably nasty angle (with traffic creating the music of ten thousand buzzards); given focus by the mute, monolithic buildings; and given meaning by the isolate human figures wandering down paths—many with a perpetual,

  • Keith Sonnier

    The hum of theology was present in Keith Sonnier’s work this spring. Two groups of sculptures were shown, the first describing a godforsaken West, the second a polytheism of the East—Hindu deities. In the gallery’s larger room stood several human-scale rectilinear constructions, of extruded aluminum finished in a mat black (and in one instance with an equally dense red). There was a tripod/anthropomorph joined to a portable radio wheezing static. There was a hard-knocks barricade of perpendiculars to which a standard pay phone was affixed. A tiny Sony color TV blinked autistically. Video and

  • Francesco Clemente

    There is something in the art of Francesco Clemente that is like the woman who prides herself on never sweating—a triumph of appearances over function. The ambient, limpid character of his frescoes and watercolors is fervent, even fevered at times. Ingestion and excretion, and their sexual, morphological possibilities, are his predominant themes. He is very often his own protagonist. Yet Clemente offers no bacchanalia, no Rabelaisian adventure. His work, rather, is a kind of gestating Decameron in which all components, all figures, all references and styles wend their way to an incomplete and


    This is the second section of Artforum’s coverage of the Documenta 7 exhibition, in which the work of some of the individual artists in the show is discussed. (See Artforum, September 1982, for a review of Documenta’s curatorial approach.) In the November issue, the Venice Biennale will be covered.


    Sol LeWitt seems to be in a period of productive splendor, a period that was trumpeted here by last fall’s high-reverb, triumphant cubes. LeWitt’s site-specific wall drawing for an alcove at Documenta 7 seemed nearly reckless, so thorough was its involvement with the architecture, even that

  • Gary Stephan

    To draw an analogy between Michelangelo, mad genius of the Renaissance, and Gary Stephan, an exceedingly rational contemporary painter, no doubt seems quixotic, but therein lies a seedling of sense. Michelangelo’s antagonism toward the act of painting is legendary—it was a process he suffered principally for the sake of costly marble, and agonized traces permeate the wracked musculatures and grimaces of his unwillingly two-dimensional subjects. The efforts of God and Adam on the Sistine ceiling, to cite the most obvious example, suggest a dual morphogenesis: the biblical metaphor for creation,

  • Tom Wesselmann

    In the late ’60s Tom Wesselmann’s view of the world, as evident in his lolling, smoking, poolside nudes, didn’t seem so much a view as a type of view: flat, with a Pop-processed look, and common to many others of the day. The character Benjamin, for example, through whose eyes we were meant to see The Graduate, held it too. It was the view of the ineloquent critic, of the social critic without a social contract who had little to work with beyond a posture—innocence by disassociation, and an eye just quick enough to pick up on the low-comedy by-products of big worries like consumerism (businessman