Nancy Marmer

  • Bridget Riley

    Since two small works of hers were shown to advantage here last fall with a group of young British painters, Miss Riley has been included in the Museum of Modern Art’s “Responsive Eye” exhibit, has had a noisy New York debut, and has suffered an avalanche of attention in the popular press. The current exhibition of thirteen austere emulsion-on-board paintings and one fun-house walk-in “environment” is a selection from the period 1962 to 1965. Though she claims small science and less math, her manner throughout seems cerebral and scientistic, all intuitional decisions masquerading as inevitable

  • “Sculpture, Los Angeles 1965”

    A medium-sized, lukewarm show, lacking in esthetic point as much as in quality, this putatively comprehensive survey of contemporary Los Angeles sculpture makes the current scene look unduly morose. Partially to blame are the cheerless interiors of the gallery and a poor installation, characterized by reckless disrespect for rear views. The primary shortcoming, however, and the one which immediately establishes the nugacity of the show, is that the most original sculpture now being done in Los Angeles is simply not represented (though, in all fairness, the invitation list may not necessarily

  • James Pinto

    Fluttering with unorchestrated and mottled color, these inarticulate acrylic paintings obsessively follow dab by dab the ignis fatuus of reflected color: on ice, through air, in water, over skin; winter, summer, sunlight, clouds; desert, garden, lagoon, and park. In a series of empty vistaed landscapes, Pinto just barely marshalls his chaotic flecks of color into semiabstract impressions of horizon, sky, and foreground. His floral and forest-scapes, such as Amazon Flora, are even more distressing, however, in their use of insensitive line for the definition of cliché botanical hybrids and in

  • R. B. Kitaj

    Born in Ohio, and currently an expatriate in London at a time when English artists flock in the opposite direction, Kitaj uses the shored fragment and rag-bag technique as a defensive weapon against the imagined ruins of purism (“I don’t like the smell of art for art’s sake”). His disjointed paintings raise so many unpopular side issues about the role of disorder in a work of art, the possibility of “plural energies” (his phrase) in a time of simplistic monism, the range of subject matter permissible in contemporary painting, and the nature of the connections between the verbal and the visual,

  • Peter Voulkos

    A petit-retrospective, this first open-air exhibit on the Simon Sculpture Plaza of the new Museum consists of ten isolate works by Voulkos, rugged sculptures which polemically resist being viewed as a group. Ranging over a seven year period (1958 to the present), the works are disconcerting in their broad span of at least three and possibly four separable, seemingly inimical sculptural manners. (Nor do the distractions of the setting help; the surrounding buildings seem to loom over the sculptures, immediately doubling the odds against “monumentality.”) If a larger selection might have had

  • Robert Rauschenberg

    One large combine-painting and a group of frottage-drawings constitute this show of quietly attractive post-Biennale, post-brouhaha work. The painting, “New York Bird Call for Oyvind Fahlstrom,” is a pastel-toned collage equipped with the lagniappe of several moveable parts, primarily three tiny, neatly plastic-covered canvases attached to the mother canvas by a long key-chain or hooks. The composition of the main canvas is based on more or less rectangular cut papers, each a separate image and each tidily stapled so as to cover the entire surface. The upper portion, a bird-scape, is plastered

  • Willem de Kooning

    The exhibit consists primarily of a group of “monoprints,” direct transfer-impressions (some on newsprint, some on vellum, some with collage additions) made last year at various provisional wet-oil stages in the evolution of “Woman, 1964,” the first of de Kooning’s two recently completed 80 x 36-inch wooden door panels. The artist’s technique of painting as palimpsest is well known, and for those who might regret the lost masterpieces under the new Women these monoprints provide an intimate, if sketchy, glimpse of versions that failed to satisfy de Kooning as well as a new method of saving the

  • 20th Century Masters

    One of several modern masters group shows this month––ostensibly to honor the opening of the new County Art Museum––this exhibit contains a number of pleasant but minor-to-undistinguished works by major names. These range from a pale and pinkly shimmering Monet landscape, “Les Falaises” (1897) to two 1963 Dubuffet canvases in his latest flat and nervously jigsaw pattern style. In between, the group includes three small Kandinsky works: an early tiny and expressionistic landscape on a purple ground, “Cornfield” (1906); “Obstinate” (1929), a small, decorative abstraction with elegantly balanced

  • Exquisite Torsi

    This group show consists of a lively miscellany of mannequins, dummies, and plaster casts which have suffered some shocks that even flesh is not heir to; in the process they mock the human nude, torso style, as an ideal form. A group sculpture exercise in Dadaist body-building, the exhibit has the inevitably forced tone and minor quality of an anthology of occasional verse; its saving grace is humor and a good title. Though a few epicene torsi appear (such as the mute grey “Cloud Torso” by Vija Celmins), the forms shown are predominantly female, profusely treated to all manner of punning and

  • Cézanne, Seurat, Signac, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Moreau, Redon, Ensor, Picasso, Serusier, Jarry, Bonnard, Vuillard, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Kandinsky, Klee, Jawlensky and Kokoschka

    The fin de siecle period and the years preceding World War I have become a myth-ridden time of heresiarchs for us now. The quickened sense of experimentation and the various conjugations of stylistic originality in those decades remind one a bit of our own age, though catastrophic world events and the development of a nouveau-riche, art-adoring public have succeeded in antiquing the early heroic vision of the role of art and the artist’s life that accompanied the pre-Great War movements. In retrospect, “la belle époque,” for all its romantic and anarchic posturings, its Pateresque self-awarenesses,

  • Gerald Laing

    A young English artist now living in New York, Laing showed two of his silver, flame and dotted astronaut canvases earlier this year in the New British Painting group at the same gallery. In this one-man show, his interests seem slightly broader—including automobile racers, sky divers, bikini girls, and Jean Harlow—but they still grow primarily out of an untainted American Pop mythology in which thrill sports and the silver screen remain wide-open innocence without a seamy underside. His techniques, however, relate less to Pop and more explicitly to the formal devices of hard-edge and optical

  • Paul Wonner

    Wonner’s primary subjects are the California landscape (seen with an All-Year Club solar enthusiasm) or domestic interiors with randomly placed models, occasional sunny windows, and a sporadic display of household objects; in both categories the temper is halcyon, and, in the domestic scenes, the vision is intimist. Associated with the “Bay Area Figuratives,” Wonner has their taste for juicy paint, but applies his varnished impasto with Parisian restraint rather than New York fury. Though Wonner exploits “paint quality,” one never feels in these canvases, as for example in David Park’s work, a

  • Ben Sakoguchi

    Sakoguchi’s etchings combine an indiscriminate farrago of images inspired by “Pop,” advertising, technical drawings, the grotesques of art history, circus posters, old masters, sports magazines, mystic cults, child doodlings, balletomania, and movie clips with a 19th-century illustrational technique. This mixture at times results in an over-all design of some total impact (“What Will It Really Be Like At My House,” for example, is a print that more or less holds together), but his multiple-choice approach to organization usually makes it difficult for the viewer to do more than “read” the separate

  • Lucas Samaras

    Prick­ly, pin-studded, glass-thorned wall pieces, boxes, constructions, and bags, exotic products of an occupational therapy center for algolagniacs. The grim balance between artist as self­-inflicted victim or as defender of the faith here hinges on the turn of a pin. Hostile content is formalized, however, and maleficent vision so neatly con­trolled by a tidy craftsmanship that after the first “frisson nouveau” one does Samaras the honor of simply ac­cepting an environment whose given is the dangerous omnipresence of sharp, pointed objects. The barbaric pins and needles which he inserts in

  • “A View of the Century”

    The century is ours; the title of the exhibition promises everything, and with the exception of idio­syncratic favorites and Americans, the names are all there (“fifty-eight of the foremost artists who have defined the character and established the values of modern art . . . ” reads the catalog). Walter Hopps, who organized the show, explains in his forward that he has selected, as an introductory group, four paintings by artists “associated with the climax of the 19th century who clearly seem to prefigure four major pathways for the art to follow.” That is, one apiece by Cézanne, Monet, Munch,

  • Manuel Neri and Joan Brown

    Neri’s powerful, life­size plaster of Paris desdichados seem to grow (or decay) out of the post-­atomic phase of the iconography of despair. This is their content and context, but their virtue is not in what they say about the condition of hu­manity, for this view gets frequent ex­posure at all levels from kitsch to kul­tur, but in spite of it. One therefore grudgingly admits that these are form­ally impressive works with a fine sculp­tural and dramatic presence. The use of plaster is a frighteningly effective medium for this morbid vision and strikes the proper chill note, but it is also a

  • Jose Luis Cuevas

    There is no shortage of desperate views this month. Eliot’s lady has a full chorus behind her discreetly mur­muring, “life, what cauchemar!” The current ploy, however, is irony and Cuevas self-defensively labels his gal­lery of mutilados and madmen, his catalogs of tortures, gruesome games, and deformities, and his self-portraits as various historical connoisseurs of agony, a “Horror Theatre.” Borrowing Gothic themes and Romantic attitudes, Cuevas perhaps has the notion of up­dating them with black humor. He is more successful, however, in the ortho­dox persona of the Divine Marquis, and manages

  • “New British Painters”

    Many years have passed since Washington Irving could refer to “the indiscriminating bigotry with which some of our countrymen admire and imitate everything English, merely because it is English” and Emerson feel the need to attack the timidity of the American who had “listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe.” Although American Anglophilia is not entirely a dead issue in certain literary circles, its counterpart, the satellitic single-mindedness with which young English artists now look to the United States as the arbiter elegantiarum, is the current scene. The remarkable impact of the

  • Edward Ruscha

    There is a remarkable tension about this show. No room here for amateurs; sybarites keep out. These are coldly brilliant canvases whose perfection of technique proclaims a hermetic self-sufficiency, an almost depersonalized aloofness. The tension comes in at that “almost.” Personality, not through painterly gesture or expressionistic distortion, asserts itself in the surreal clamps and torn western magazine that Ruscha aggressively and ironically adds to his obsessive order, intrudes via the deracinated, the unconnected, the literally conceived object.

    The paintings divide into two groups. First,

  • Maryan

    Maryan would seem to take as his text Jeremy Taylor’s “What is man but a vessel of dung, a stink of corruption, and, by birth, a slave of the devil?” His Personages are strutting, fretting idiots, whose silence makes the plastic arts appear lacking in a dimension. His characters are permutations and combinations of all our literary Yahoos: Caliban, Sweeney, Ubu, Oskar, and the Snopes, wedded to the devil in a medieval farce or a clown from the commedia dell’arte. They come from Gothic distortions via Matthias Grunewald, Hieronymus Bosch, Goya’s Black Paintings, and German Expressionism; they