Phyllis Tuchman

  • Manuel Neri

    Most of the works in Manuel Neri’s exhibition “The Human Figure in Plaster and on Paper” feel as if they were made yesterday. This is partly because outgoing Yale University Art Gallery director Jock Reynolds—who has known the accomplished Bay Area octogenarian since his own student days in the art department at the University of California, Santa Cruz—has displayed sculptures executed in plaster rather than marble or bronze as well as works on paper made in sketch sessions involving a model. Reynolds’s decision to rest the faceless figures, replete with gouged surfaces, directly on

  • Robert Smithson’s “Monuments of Passaic”

    ROBERT SMITHSON knew the route of the No. 30 intercity bus by heart. When the twenty-nine-year-old artist boarded the No. 30 on September 30, 1967, to make the short trip between New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Union Avenue Bridge in Rutherford, New Jersey, little seemed to have changed. He still could have been the teenager with a scholarship to the Art Students League riding the bus between old Clifton High School and the seedy neighborhood in Manhattan where he always disembarked.

    Ever since “The Monuments of Passaic” was published in these pages fifty years ago, the bus ride

  • Arshile Gorky

    Arshile Gorky’s paintings and drawings are generally associated with the earliest days of Abstract Expressionism. Despite this connection, Gorky exhibitions in New York are few and far between. There haven’t been many since 1981, when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum mounted a retrospective of work by this Armenian émigré, who came to America in 1920. As each new generation has molded its interpretation of his art in their own work, his achievements have been repeatedly revised. When I studied his “tidy” paintings and drawings in graduate school when Minimalism and Pop art reigned, William S.

  • “Deadeye Dick: Richard Bellamy and His Circle”

    Richard Bellamy (1927–1998), aka Deadeye Dick, was among the significant figures of his generation, credited with identifying and exhibiting both Pop artists and Minimalists early on. Anyone who’s old enough to have visited galleries Bellamy directed, be it the Green Gallery or Oil & Steel, remembers his perspicacity, catholic taste, youthful exuberance, and gift for installing art to maximum effect. After his death almost twenty years ago at the age of seventy, his reputation dropped off the radar of a younger generation.

    With the publication last year of Eye of the Sixties: Richard Bellamy and

  • Andy Warhol

    Although “Andy Warhol: Dark Star” included a range of works from 1951 through 1978 installed on every floor of the museum, its great success was in shedding new light on the best-known phase of the Pop artist’s career, between 1961 and 1972. Instead of assuming Warhol’s paintings of that time to be interchangeable and of equal value, as others have done, curator Douglas Fogle stressed the variety of distinguishing decisions—aesthetic as well as thematic—that the artist made.

    For example, Fogle opted to juxtapose Large Campbell’s Soup Can, 1964, a painting of a single pristine, solitary

  • Richard Deacon

    At long last, a retrospective of the British artist Richard Deacon’s inventively shaped, often buoyant sculptures and geometrically themed works on paper has been mounted by an American museum. At sixty-seven, Deacon, a 1987 Turner Prize recipient, has an extensive exhibition history—commencing in London during the mid-1970s and including, a decade later, his solo debut in the United States in 1985. This engrossing look at his career was certainly overdue.

    Presenting more than forty works spanning five decades, “What You See Is What You Get,” as this exhibition is called, impresses with its

  • Thomas Struth

    For his fifth and latest ongoing series, photographer Thomas Struth has been transforming science into art. Over the past ten years, the Berlin-based artist has been traveling to nuclear facilities, biomedical research centers, physics institutes, and robotics laboratories across several continents, photographing them with large-format as well as smaller cameras. Struth is currently making pictures of machines that see things not discernible to the naked eye. From the body of work he has titled “Nature & Politics,” 2007–, two dozen or so riveting prints of varying dimensions inaugurate the

  • “Painting After Postmodernism: Belgium–USA”

    “Painting After Postmodernism: Belgium–USA” was a refreshing antidote to the hustle and bustle of the current art scene; none of the eight Americans and eight Belgians in the show, curated by art historian and critic Barbara Rose, was among the usual suspects. More than 250 paintings were installed at two locations. Most were on display at the Vanderborght, a six-story International Style building from the 1930s. Natural light from a glass-enclosed atrium in the center of the former department store enhanced the pleasure of viewing art that was often colorful, with textured surfaces and bold,

  • Robert Grosvenor

    At the Renaissance Society, veteran sculptor Robert Grosvenor will show a large, makeshift work from 1989–90. Made from banal materials—stacked concrete blocks, Plexiglas, and painted steel—the austere Untitled has a pronounced interior volume, a space that, because of its low top, cannot be entered. Appreciate this ungainly work from a distance or else feel thwarted because it cannot be breached. Visitors to Grosvenor’s shows never know whether they are going to find something graceful, massive, off-putting, or witty; a sculpture hung from the ceiling,

  • Sol LeWitt

    Over a multifaceted career that spanned more than five decades, Sol LeWitt executed hundreds of wall drawings, scores of sculptures, and countless drawings, prints, photographs, and books. An exhibition on view at Paula Cooper Gallery’s multiple locations in Chelsea showcased LeWitt’s amazing range—and, by including work by Liz Deschenes, reminded us of his generosity toward younger colleagues. (A concurrent presentation at Miguel Abreu Gallery also paired LeWitt’s work with Deschenes’s.) His art was variously sumptuous, obsessive, inventive, gentle. Ever since LeWitt died in 2007 at the

  • “Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971”

    Virginia Dwan is the stuff of legends: prescient dealer, visionary collector, generous benefactor. She’s Leo Castelli, Count Panza, and Andrew Mellon rolled into one. Featuring some hundred paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and photographs, the National Gallery of Art will highlight the art that Dwan, still a tall beauty at eighty-five, has donated or promised to the museum. Other institutions, including MoMA, LACMA, and the Pompidou, are lending additional works shown at her galleries in LA and New York. From 1959 to 1967, her SoCal space hosted American abstractionists

  • Alfred Leslie

    During the early 1950s, many considered the abstract painters Alfred Leslie and Harry Jackson to be the heirs apparent to Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, though the famous pair’s close friends and colleagues Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, and Joan Mitchell were regarded highly, too. As it was, Hartigan was included in the landmark 1958 show “The New American Painting” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. And Frankenthaler enjoyed a midcareer survey at the Jewish Museum in 1960. But Leslie too earned a plum assignment. He participated in MoMA’s “Sixteen Americans,” which, by

  • Gordon Matta-Clark

    Gordon Matta-Clark was as accomplished at making drawings with pencils, pens, markers, and crayons as he was at cutting into abandoned warehouses, suburban homes, and dilapidated tenement buildings with a chain saw. And these drawings offer a variety of insights into the American-born artist’s attitudes about nature, movement, and geometry; the themes that interested him; and the times in which he lived. Several dozen works on paper executed between 1969 and 1977, the year before Matta-Clark died of cancer at the age of thirty-five, were recently on view at David Zwirner.

    It’s surprising to

  • Malcolm Morley

    The fifteen paintings in Malcolm Morley’s latest show at Sperone Westwater, like all of his finest works, snap, crackle, and pop. In this instance, the British-born, American-based artist activates these sensations from a mix of bold, vivid colors, rambunctious compositions, and themes that refer to aerial dogfights during World War II, cannon fire during the Battle of Waterloo, medieval warfare, and even Viking exploration. All told, Morley, at age eighty-four, has become one of our preeminent history painters.

    Though he had a brief period when he painted abstract pictures—they were in his

  • Alexander Calder

    Once Alexander Calder’s sculptures began to be sited in Boston; Paris; Spoleto, Italy; Mexico City; and other global destinations, it was apparent that this versatile artist had a knack for thinking big. Now, based on an exhibition at Dominique Lévy, it’s equally clear that, throughout his long, distinguished career, he also had a gift for making small-size stabiles, mobiles, and maquettes.

    Whether his sculptures are only two inches high or just five inches wide, they all have the hallmarks of work by Alexander Calder. You’ll find whimsical biomorphic forms; a palette reduced mostly to red,

  • Walter Darby Bannard

    Walter Darby Bannard made a big splash with the abstractions he painted following his graduation from Princeton University in 1956. In the mid-1960s, his work, which featured, in Bannard’s own words, “plain, simple, symmetrical in-your-face color,” was included in historically important group exhibitions such as “Post-Painterly Abstraction” (1964), and “The Responsive Eye” (1965), organized, respectively, by critic Clement Greenberg and curator William C. Seitz.

    A dozen or so canvases from 1958 to 1965 that were on view recently at Berry Campbell made it clear why Bannard, who is now eighty, was

  • Marisol

    Marisol Escobar’s long-overdue retrospective, which remains on view until January 10, does not disappoint. With figurative sculpture once again popular in the art world, the seventeen sculptures and fourteen works on paper on view at El Museo del Barrio look fresher than ever. The spare, elegant installation further enhances the Marina Pacini–curated survey devoted to the artist’s fifty-plus-year career. Practically from the get-go (see Tea for Three, 1960), Marisol, as she is known, has melded representational sculpture with elements of abstract painting and exquisite draftsmanship, not to

  • Donald Judd

    Although works on paper were included in Donald Judd’s midcareer surveys at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1968 and the Pasadena Art Museum in 1971, the artist’s drawings for various Wall Units, Floor Boxes, Stacks, and Progressions have remained largely under the radar for the four decades since then. With pencil or ink, Judd executed spare, lean schematics on paper of various sizes as preparation for his three-dimensional works. In terms of skill, these sheets occupy a middle ground that’s neither virtuosic nor amateurish. Their most idiosyncratic quality is that many were made on yellow

  • “Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912”

    Almost two dozen years after “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism” wowed visitors at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, and California’s Santa Barbara Museum of Art have come together to mount “Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912.” With this show, the two institutions couldn’t have hatched a cheekier project. Just consider the metrics. moma’s extravaganza featured nearly 400 oil paintings, collages, papiers collés, ink drawings, and sculptures executed between 1907 and 1914, with masterpieces borrowed from points around the globe,

  • Susan Rothenberg

    With a mere twenty-five canvases dating from 1976 to 2008, “Susan Rothenberg: Moving in Place” succinctly conveyed how, over the course of the artist’s low-key, four-decade career, she fulfilled her early promise and matured into an insightful, sensitive painter whose latest series may well be her most poignant. This mini retrospective also suggested that the standing interpretations of the sixty-six-year-old artist’s famed early output need revising.

    When Rothenberg’s equine paintings were first shown in 1975 at New York’s 112 Greene Street (and, six months later, uptown, at the former Willard