Lizzie Borden

  • The New Dialectic

    1. Intention and Perceptual Theory

    THE CLIMATE OF CRITICISM over the past decade has suppressed all consideration of individual intention by treating problems as exclusively formal. This arose as a reaction against the romantic and existentialistic attitude of ’50s criticism, especially Harold Rosenberg’s writing, where gestures were viewed literally, as feelings or states of mind. Such criticism was a product of current psychoanalytic trends, notably the preoccupation with Jungian archetype and myth. It became stylized art writing, trapped within its own dialectic and unresponsive.

    Discussions

  • Art Economics and the Whitney Drawing Show

    WHAT ARE THE CULTURAL SUPPOSITIONS implicit in the definition of the art object? Are the perceptions of particular works ordered by the contexts in which they are seen? Do current economic and art-political support structures reflect or determine values?

    Such questions must be posed whenever the conventions and procedures of art remain unchallenged as inherited cultural categories. Donald Judd’s dictum that “anything the artist calls art is art” is a Duchampian cliché that betrays an ethnocentric bias; it assumes that the identification of the artist with an act of volition leads by definition

  • Trisha Brown

    Narrative is inseparable from the perception of time as a dialectical process—it is impossible to perceive isolated events independent of past events and without anticipation of future ones. Apparently, the only non-narrative situation is simultaneity considered as an abstraction, for any observable simultaneity is a fragment in relation to an enveloping temporal context. The formal aspect of narrative as a perceptual necessity, however, must be isolated from the economic and political uses to which it has been subjected, its apogee being the 19th-century novel. The traditional novel (in fiction

  • Yvonne Rainer

    While the depersonalization of event into ordered sequence has been part of the formal history of dance since Cunningham, Yvonne Rainer’s recent performance, This is a story of a woman who . . . attempts to reintegrate narrative into dance. Although much of her earlier work,including Part of some Sextets, 1965, and Trio A: The Mind is a Muscle, 1966, explored systematic movement and gymnastic physical activities, her pieces have often involved references to psychological and sexual states, either as spontaneous reaction or stylized expression. Since 1969, culminating in this performance and the

  • Nancy Holt

    Nancy Holt’s work over the past few years, investigating aspects of perception—light, space, and focus—has grown steadily more complex. Holt’s pieces fall into two general categories: “locators” and “visual sound zones.” The “locators” are short galvanized steel pipes set at angles or perpendicularly on vertical tubes. They focus on particular shapes or visual sites in the way a window frames a space, connecting the originating focal point where one places one’s eye with the circumscribed area in the distance demarcated by the pipe. Several indoor locators were exhibited in a group show at Weber

  • Brice Marden

    Over the past few years, painting has been moving away from the classicizing work of the ’60s toward a more painterly involvement with material and gesture—thick paint against stain, matte against reflective, strident against lyrical color. In comparison, much of the work of the last decade, in which concept equals or surpasses materialization, looks chaste and retiring. Brice Marden, whose paintings share the reductive literalness of Minimal work, has, however, always been interested in the palpability of surface. The sensuous quality of his work links him to current concerns, even though he

  • Kenneth Noland, Larry Zox

    The involution of the modernist position is apparent in the work of younger artists, which repeats the pictorial conventions explored in the last decade. Within the support structure, this reconfirms the economic value of older modernist art, and even the older painters assure the value of their past work by continuing to refine it or by integrating the pictorial conventions of their colleagues. This is visible in Kenneth Noland’s recent show, whose refined and delicate work is the essence of taste and sensibility. He has amalgamated structures explored in the ’60s: stripes (his own), around

  • Friedl Dzubas

    Another aspect of current modernist painting involves the relational format, advocated as long as the work avoids “Cubist space”—the shallow, boxlike space of easel pictures—through the use of color. An accepted model for such work is Jack Bush, whose eccentric personal calligraphic forms may have inspired Friedl Dzubas, whose current exhibition demonstrates a similar manner of execution—deliberately awkward, the shapes operating between flatness and atmospheric illusion. Another painter using relational elements is Ronnie Landfield, whose recent paintings combine rectangles with quasi-Morris

  • Ronnie Landfield

    Another aspect of current modernist painting involves the relational format, advocated as long as the work avoids “Cubist space”—the shallow, boxlike space of easel pictures —through the use of color. An accepted model for such work is Jack Bush, whose eccentric personal calligraphic forms may have inspired Friedl Dzubas, whose current exhibition demonstrates a similar manner of execution—deliberately awkward, the shapes operating between flatness and atmospheric illusion. Another painter using relational elements is Ronnie Landfield, whose recent paintings combine rectangles with quasi-Morris

  • Early Work

    AGNES MARTIN'S LATE WORK, distilling painting to an ultimate system of information, has been seminal to a generation of Minimal artists who have also rejected arbitrary elements in order to define the operations of painting and sculpture. Yet the elimination of chance and contingencies from her work has never been the outcome of programmatic decision; it was the result of a slow and often painful struggle to find those processes essential to painting which would be in accord with her philosophy of the “awareness of perfection” as expressed in art. Martin had to experience all elements subjectively,

  • “3D Into 2D: Drawing For Sculpture”

    Recently there has been much controversy between artists involved in reistic concerns and those attempting to define the paradigms of these art forms. While this investigation is valuable as a heuristic device, definitional paradigms can only analyze the relationship of particular modes to the culture of a given period. Such explanations form a metalanguage which assorts and criticizes subsets within the more comprehensive paradigms in which these languages are contained. However, even the most acute metalanguage is incapable of recreating a physical work, able only to supply a skeleton or

  • Sol LeWitt

    Drawing as the result of conceptual premise, yielding results which transcend the structures upon which they are based, can be seen in the work of Dorothea Rockburne and Sol LeWitt. In Rockburne’s series, Drawing that Makes Itself, the information is contained within operations intrinsic to the activity of drawing, such as folds which create both line and edge.

    The drawing of Sol LeWitt, one of the first to establish the systematic attitude as a structure for work, may be seen in relation to the wall drawings currently at the John Weber Gallery. The drawing in the larger room consists of all

  • Mel Bochner

    Mel Bochner’s drawings, which can be written about in connection to his current show at Sonnabend, operate as materialized idea pointing toward signification rather than attempting to define it. Much of his work is drawing—the setting forth of boundaries for the purpose of location and placement. His pieces have often involved the nonentities of relational connectives between substantive states, represented in language by conjunctions and prepositions—“between,” “on,” “in,” “and,” “or.” Bochner finds models for postulates, Euclidean axioms about space and objects in space, so that each postulate

  • Joseph Beuys

    The drawings of Joseph Beuys involve configurations of words—maps or diagrams, notations rather than pictorial concretions—which point toward a cosmological drawing on the dialectic of revolution through art or creativity, the “leap from the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom,” as Engels wrote in Anti-Duhring. The material of the actual drawings is inconsequent. The relationship between terms—such as “art,” “science,” “religion,” “collective unconscious,” “past history,” “freedom,” “transmitter,” “receiver,” “Revolution,” “creativity”—constitutes Beuys’ poetics. The plot, characters,

  • Charles Ross

    Light is an archetypical symbol with similar meanings in many cultures; it is used as a metaphor for visibility and warmth, understanding and knowledge. In painting, beyond any metaphorical content, light is an essential aspect of color and shape—the tonalities capable of conveying incandescence ranging from tenebroso and chiaroscuro to plein air painting and the abstract luminousness of Rothko and Reinhardt. However, at the source of light as a pictorial means is light as pure energy and information. Light as an aspect of the energy field, while not always consciously used within the art context,

  • Dan Flavin

    Light as information has been the subject of Dan Flavin’s work over the last decade. Within his luminous spaces, light is dissociated from metaphors implicit in sources of natural light, while avoiding the commercial and Pop art aspects of other neon activity. Flavin’s work is moving toward purity of format and illumination. It is almost necessary to approach his art through negative description. Since his pieces use material as the vehicle for incandescence, it seems mistaken to view his work as sculptural. Because the luminescent areas are not illusory, the work is neither painterly nor

  • Jane Kaufmann

    Jane Kaufmann’s new paintings at Paley and Lowe are almost black with glimmers of deep purple, green, alizarin, and blue. They generate more light than her earlier high-keyed paintings, for light must qualify itself as it emerges from opaque depths, the lack of contrast increasing the intensity of luminescence. Unlike Flavin’s work, Kaufmann’s paintings encourage metaphorical associations such as night and sky, the cosmic and universal. However, this expression remains within inherited conventions of field painting. The consistently modulated variations are similar to Olitski’s work, although

  • Harry Callahan

    Harry Callahan’s recent exhibition at Light Gallery shows his continued interest in relationships of texture, space, and light around the subjects of city buildings, beach landscapes, and wooded areas. His work is essentially unmanipulated (the image isn’t changed after it is taken), although he has made extensive use of multiple exposures and has explored various perspectival distortions—the perception of one’s position in space while simultaneously seeing up, down, and at the periphery of one’s vision. Callahan, who developed a program in photography at the University of Illinois under

  • Laura Dean And Dance Company

    Laura Dean and her dance company, who have performed alone and with Steve Reich, recently presented two performances of Dean’s Circle Dance at the LoGuidice Gallery. Ten dancers, including Dean, move clockwise and counterclockwise in circles marked on the floor, in count cycles ranging from over 500 to two beats. The dancers, equidistant from each other in each concentric circle, move with a tiny shuffling step, the resulting sound almost like stamping—1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2—equally accented except for the slight variations of personalized syncopation. At given intervals, they change direction,

  • Alan Shields

    Eccentric art has generally existed outside of the mainstream of art. It has not often dealt with abstract formal issues, has been too involuted to inspire direct genealogies, and lacks a kind of cultural universality. It is difficult however to draw a sharp boundary between art that is extremely subjective and the recognizable qualities in the work of artists using more accessible forms. The term “eccentric” may be used in reference to the obsessive treatment of peculiar shapes, signs, and images.The strength of some eccentric art seems to come from its ability to make its obsessions compelling