Richard Lorber

  • Laurie Anderson

    Boundaries between the visual and performing arts have long been blurred, if not altogether erased in many artists’ minds. Shifting intermedia activities have focused on new, often uncategorized issues. As a “conceptual performance” artist Laurie Anderson has addressed these issues, sometimes with illuminating originality. Recently, in two acoustical installation pieces, she removed herself as performer, substituting props of a sort that propose perceptual predicaments. Anderson hasn’t abandoned the concept of performance but has displaced it by activating the role of the “perceiver”—a strategy

  • Mary Lucier

    Climactic changes in the artistic and economic environments have had notable impact on the development of video art. A number of galleries have abandoned what they found to be the unprofitable practice of trying to sell or distribute artists, videotapes (they never had the commodity appeal of unique art objects or even photographs). At the same time, nonprofit arts organizations have become aggressively involved in cablecasting artists' video, advancing collaborative approaches to the medium and a higher awareness among artists of its social functions. The few museum showcases for video, such

  • Esti Schur

    By comparison, the recent video installations of the Israeli artist Esti Schur achieve less through more. She is one of a number of artists who have come to video as a means of realizing ideas generated through involvement in other art forms—in her case, dance. Translated/Translocated is a nine-minute, three-channel black and white videotape presented on three monitors. Monitor three (on the left) reveals a close-up image of the body of a dancer—back muscles, limbs, filling the screen. The figure is attempting to “translate” what Schur calls “directive sounds” from the tape on monitor one (on

  • Pat Adams' Modernity

    FOR OVER 20 YEARS Pat Adams has biennially exhibited paintings. Without yet emerging as an artist in the foreground of the critical literature, she has steadfastly built her reputation as an innovative abstractionist and as an inspirational teacher at Bennington College, where she has taught since 1964. While the full measure of her artistic accomplishment might not be taken for some time—she is now very much in mid-career—one can begin to perceive that her trajectory of achievement is as much a function of her “entrance”1 as of her sensibility, intelligence and talent.

    “Modernism,” in its late

  • Gilbert and George

    Coleridge once observed that while ideas possess most people, few truly possess an idea. Gilbert and George, the “odd couple” among Conceptualists, aspire to proprietorship by dramatizing their idea of being possessed by the idea of art. In the “New Photo-Pieces” their own images are integrated into a series of grids, each composed of nine or sixteen rectangular black and white separate panels (these are unique articles, not an edition, and each separate photograph is individually framed by the artists). Studio portraits of Gilbert and George among the panels bear witness to, but stand a world

  • Robert Wilson and Scott Burton

    When Matisse compared the appeal of his art to a soothing armchair he certainly had a very different kind of furniture in mind from the pieces exhibited recently by Robert Wilson and Scott Burton. Disquieting as “art,” their “furniture” occupies thought as it occupies space, confounding domesticated expectations of artifacts of repose and repast.

    Pictorially, chairs and tables are no strangers to the history of art, as elements of genre representation or iconographic emblems. In recent years the actual objects have functioned narratively or anecdotally in the tableaux of Kienholz, Segal and

  • Max Neuhaus

    Ever since Duchamp, artists have been exploiting strategies of esthetic dislocation, introducing “nonart” into art contexts and art into nonart domains. By now, the range of forms of questioning the nature of art has achieved a kind of antimatter symmetry with the overall enterprise of making art for esthetic ends. In many sectors of the arts a “situational” outlook has confounded perceivers’ esthetic expectations, complicating to the point of interchanging meanings in art, criticism, and life. Max Neuhaus, for one, has been sending out situational art signals for some time, through a most apt

  • Nancy Holt

    Nancy Holt’s videotape Revolve centers on the reflections of a 30-year-old Canadian filmmaker who has leukemia. Set and kept in verbal motion by off-camera questions from Holt, Dennis Wheeler’s stunning discourse deals with his experiences in the hospital, his chemotherapy, and the adjustment to “normal” life during a remission from the disease, when the tape was made. Wheeler’s monologue rivets the attention through a coolly eloquent articulation of the most harrowing events and uncanny insights borne by a bold attempt to comprehend the imminence of his own death. This approaching a “state of

  • Blinky Palermo

    Colors ricochet from painting to painting in the exhibition of the last work of Blinky Palermo, who died early this year. It is an exhilarating exhibition, making one deeply regret that we will see no more new work by this young German artist. Conceived in terms of an installation, the paintings in the show number 15, ranging in size from 1 x 2 meters to 21 x 16 1/2 centimeters. Several individual works are comprised of three or four of the small panels. Each painting is done on a rectangular aluminum plate, mounted in relief so that the edges cast shadows, giving the colors a mobile independence

  • Robert Wilson

    Robert Wilson’s celebrated dreamlike extravaganzas, such as his twelve-hour masterpiece The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin, or the recent and far less satisfying Einstein on the Beach, have been symphonically textured spectacles, bloated with theatrical ambition, if not always pregnant with meaning.

    His new work, I Was Sitting On My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating is a deflation and a consolidation, a rather modest chamber piece. But it represents a critical development in Wilson’s art and a salutary departure from once-outstanding theatrical inventions which have since

  • Alice Aycock

    Alice Aycock has done some Mannerist carpentering in a work she calls The True and the False Project Entitled “The World Is So Full of a Number of Things.” It is a subtly eccentric pastiche of architectural elements based on the catacombs of St. Sebastian, the Thermae of Titus (after a Piranesi engraving), the circular building in Bosch’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, among other art historical sources. Her recipe aside, it does on the whole look rather like an Escher castle or some erratically proportioned fortification lifted from a Gothic tapestry. On its own terms, it is an outstandingly

  • William Wegman

    Something of a Minimalist Ernie Kovacs in his video work, William Wegman’s incisive timing, eye for absurdity, and ironic deflations of expectation (shaped by popular television) delicately convert the most banal situations into wryly entertaining parodies of themselves. He makes stooges of his viewers by manipulating their credulousness through his deadpan sincerity in purposefully insipid skits—showing us just how addicted we are to the predictable and trivial both in the media and in our lives. In his best tapes we become a captive audience of psychological props, like his docile protagonist,