Max Kozloff

  • New Paintings by Gene Davis

    THE ASSIDUOUS GENE DAVIS once again confronts us, at Poindexter, with his relentless vertically striped paintings that resemble almost maniacally multi-colored blazers. It has been over six years since the late Morris Louis initiated this particular idiom in his “pillar” paintings, although then, the stripes constituted a “motif,” flanked by bare canvas on either side, rather than what Davis came to make of them, the facade of the work itself. That he tape-masks his edges to get the most exact ruling, and immaculately evens the intensity and surface of each stained integer, gives his art a more

  • David Smith at the Tate

    AT A TIME WHEN HIS LEGACY has be­come immensely relevant, and at a moment when the recentness of his death would naturally have encour­aged some acknowledgement of what he had done, we are given the long planned and well-installed retrospec­tive of David Smith’s sculpture at the Tate Gallery. Directed by Frank O’Hara, of the Museum of Modern Art (whose life, like Smith’s, was re­cently cut short at high tide by an automobile accident), it is congested with the memorable pieces, familiar and unfamiliar, of a long career. One had assimilated these works, or sculp­tures like them, oftentimes in

  • Three-Dimensional Prints and the Retreat from Originality

    NOW THAT THE FULL HORRORS of big time leisure are seeping through to the untrained art public, the possibility of a flabbergasting new entente between artists and laymen is beginning to suggest itself. The desire of the man in the street would be to structure his leisure, with, among so many other things, the visual condiments that are achieving such publicity these days, but are beyond the reach of his pocketbook. The problem for the artist is to reach a vast, lower-echelon market, and to attain a distribution of his products that will only begin to satisfy an unprecedented demand. Undoubtedly,

  • An Interview with Matta

    Q. When did you first arrive in New York?

    A. October or November, 1939.

    Q. Where had you been before that?

    A. Paris.

    Q. You were working professionally in Paris?

    A. Yes, you know, I came from architecture. I never painted—I made some drawings—but when I started painting, it was through necessity, of trying to find an expression which I call a morphology, of the functioning of one’s thinking, or one’s feeling. I used the expression for that kind of work, which was, somehow, for the first time, of psychic morphology. This question of expressing directly on the canvas my state of feeling was symptomatic

  • An Interview with Robert Motherwell

    Q. In what areas do you consider that there may have been misunderstandings or falsifications of the period of Abstract Expressionism?

    A. Many. The least distorted account I’ve seen is Arnason’s, in the catalog to the Guggenheim’s “Abstract Expressionist and Imagist” show . . . But even his account has the limitation that for an awful lot of what happened, there’s no documentation existing.

    Q. But what were the specific misapprehensions of the period—thematic, historical, conceptual?

    A. One historical misunderstanding is to assume that all the Abstract Expressionists appeared at once, like so many

  • The Problem of Color-Light in Mark Rothko

    ONE OF THE DECISIVE CONTRADICTIONS in Mark Rothko’s art is his uncompromising non-objectivity of format and framework, mated with his thoroughly metaphoric handling of paint—a paint that suggests a variety of sensations. Were his pictorial substances more obtrusive or palpable, there would have been an equilibrium between the way they would have confined attention to themselves, and the way the formal configuration of soft-edged rectangles rules out alternative readings. There would have been, that is, a balance of self-assertions. As it is, Rothko has so etherealized the paint that it is

  • An Interview with Friedel Dzubas

    Q. Where would you place yourself chronologically in the development of New York painting since the Second World War?

    A. You know, I am just by age what they call second generation, a second wave. But in a strange way, I never belonged to that second wave. After the early fifties, it settled into one large camp (aside from which, there were only a few separate figures), but that one large camp represented the people who were for de Kooning, or anything that de Kooning represented. Everybody on the outside of that camp never really managed to group around another center. (Late forties up to around

  • Larry Poons

    OF LATE, THE CAREER OF ABSTRACT ART, once uneasy and open-ended, is gelling in the work of a handful of American painters who have pressed a series of interlocking, but unique visions into existence. Three such painters are Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Frank Stella. Another, still in his twenties, is Larry Poons. The powers that have been funneled to give his art its distinctive range and tension have over-arched the esthetic landscape of perhaps the last twenty years and Poons, as a result, is one of those classic, central figures who sums up a tradition, while freshly extending its

  • The Honest Elusiveness of Jim Dine

    ONE HAS NO DIFFICULTY IN LOCATING the area in which the vision of Jim Dine tumbles and spins and disports itself, like some playful dolphin. His haunt is the fluid sea of visual paradoxes and ironies discovered by Johns and Rauschenberg. This means, initially, that Dine has concerned himself with the inclusion of objects into painting, the continued opulence, but devaluation, of material paint, and the effect of words which label representations which he is at pains to undermine. Considering Dine’s origins, one is not surprised to see displacements and disassociations in his art, nor a whole

  • The Dilemma of Expressionism

    EXPRESSIONISM, AS A VISUAL MODE in art, has passed into the history of the 20th century. So complicated and ambiguous has the present artistic situation become, that the bellicose progeny of Van Gogh look optimistic and simple-minded by comparison. And so alien to the direct transmission of feeling is current thought, that Expressionist art begins to look inflated and bombastic. One is willing to admit the existence of a number of masterpieces of the genre, but inwardly one does not submit oneself too eagerly to be moved by them. If this is because Expressionism no longer constitutes fashion,

  • Whitney Annual: Sculpture

    Museum openings, for some reason, whether it is the fur and the clatter, or the Crest toothpaste smiles of everyone including the works of art, always put me to thinking of the end of Western civilization. They are the art world’s affirmation of old Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption, decked up with a whorishness impossible to resist. That of the Whitney Museum’s 1968 Sculpture Annual was no exception. Hundreds of people coquettishly trying to look younger than they are, younger than the young, dabbed their ashes and spilled their drinks on the floor while successfully, and in most cases

  • Robert Irwin

    What is deterministic in the artistic processes of Robert Irwin and what is optional in the viewing of his work, mesh chimerically in the consciousness. For there is something minatory in one’s helplessness in sorting out the boundaries of color tones that are known to be quite discrete, as they are applied in dotted screens. Overlappings, therefore, occur only in an imagination betrayed by the knowledge that Irwin’s materials are laid down exclusively side by side. This was the Neo-Impressionist ethic, too, to be sure, but the Seurat group emphasized tangibility, and firmly modulated transitions:

  • Les Levine

    A rather chilly exhibition, authored by a man named Les Levine, comprised in part of what looked like frigidaires swaddled in glistening vinyl, opened at the Fischbach Gallery. A Canadian artist hitherto unshown in these parts, Levine apparently feels so at home here that he is immediately kindled by the sensuous aspect of something called Eastman’s Uvex Plastic sheet. According to the flyer accompanying the show, “The sculptures are vacuum-formed from clear plastic sheet, then back sprayed with a silver metallic paint to create the glossy, silvery appearance.” Additionally, constructed armatures

  • Michael Steiner

    Debuts by young artists these days seem to fall into one of two categories. Either their exhibitions are somewhat insecure technically, and uncertain conceptually, or they are almost alarmingly with it, apparently leaving no fields left to conquer. Michael Steiner’s opening at Dwan lines up neatly with the latter extremity. Flawless even in their installation, his cast aluminum pieces project a structural confidence, and a differentiated geometrical vocabulary of mostly cantilevered or buttressed beams that go elegantly about their business. In addition, nothing could be more up to date than

  • Jim Dine

    Some hitherto disagreeable, but relatively submerged aspects of Jim Dine’s art have come fully to the surface in his latest show at Janis. I refer to his incapacity to edit (if not control) the vagrant products of his output, and also to a rather persnickety cynicism that demeans only itself. The first means that undeveloped or throw-away ideas sully a production that once had a lyrically serious drive; the second indicates a kind of thumbing the nose even at his own irony––which makes one wonder why any work was worth the effort. At their wittiest, his new images rise to the level of cast

  • Fantin-Latour

    In the catalog of the really delicious exhibition of flower paintings by Fantin-Latour at Acquavella, I came across an illuminating remark by Pierre Courthion: “In his own incomparable way, he (Fantin) has understood better than anyone the visual language of a bouquet of flowers, where each flower plays its own melody; the soft rustle of the white carnations and the red or multicolored ones which froth like the petticoats of a pretty girl . . .” To probe into these works, then, is perhaps to become a connoisseur of a genteel, Victorian eroticism. The latter would go far to explain the subdued