Robert Pincus-Witten

  • Nahum Tevet

    Born on a kibbutz in 1946, Nahum Tevet was by his midtwenties an ascendant figure in Israeli art. This exhibition surveyed twenty-six of his works on glass—virtually the entirety of this subtle body of work—produced between 1972 and 1975. The informative catalogue by Thierry de Duve, the exhibition’s curator, explains that, in the forty years since their creation, a few of these works have been lost, a few repaired, while others are not on glass at all but rather are on Plexiglas.

    To create the works, Tevet taped, pinned, clipped, or otherwise adhered translucent papers, cardboard

  • Lucas Samaras

    TWO CONCURRENT EXHIBITIONS devoted to the early work of Lucas Samaras underscore the artist’s adoption of mediums often perceived as odd, even marginal, when compared to the more familiar tropes of easel painting. Born in Greece in 1936 and enduring a war-ravaged childhood, Samaras arrived in the United States in 1948. His ceaseless drawing as a boy presaged an output whose quixotic estrangements are perhaps traceable to his immigrant experience. While a scholarship student at Rutgers University in New Jersey in the late 1950s, he fell in with a troupe of artists exploring the expressionist

  • Eric Fischl

    My earliest reviews of Eric Fischl’s “narrative paintings”—they date some thirty-five years back—bore the titles “Snatch and Snatching” (1981), and “Analytical Pubism” (1985), their snarkiness meant to take note of the then-tenderfoot painter’s louche imagery. In the early 1980s, Fischl was negotiating the shoals between Conceptual art and figurative painting, a divide that also marked the curriculum of CalArts, where Fischl graduated as a member of the school’s initial class in 1972. For a while, it seemed that the Conceptualist adherents of John Baldessari, a justifiably beloved

  • Allen Jones

    A half century and more has passed since the Swinging ’60s, Carnaby Street, teddy boys, even the Stones, all potent reminders of a British cultural liberation that was, admittedly, often perceived negatively—particularly in the stellar example of Allen Jones. His hyperstylized robotic woman–as–idol remains a constant iconographic feature of his work, as this fifty-year survey, organized by Sir Norman Rosenthal, former longtime exhibitions secretary at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, amply documents. The show affirms anew the familiar trajectory of an artist first met as outcast who in

  • “Painting in Italy 1910s–1950s: Futurism, Abstraction, Concrete Art”

    Most persons committed to modern art possess at least a passing acquaintance with such proper nouns as Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, F. T. Marinetti, and Carlo Carrà—and with Futurism itself, the Biggest Bang of Italian modernism. How wonderful, then, to encounter this exhibition of some 120 works by more than thirty Italian artists working between 1910 and 1950, artists whose names are virtually unknown except to specialists.

    One such individual is the international art dealer Gian Enzo Sperone, whose collection comprises the heart of this exhibition, to which has been added numerous

  • Jean Tinguely

    Jean Tinguely (1925–1991) was a Swiss-born artist of singular though shifting reputation. His special place in American art owes much to his close connection, both stylistic and personal, to our great neo-Dadaists: Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. The elevation of the found object and the devotion to chance, key procedures in the work of both those artists, unexpectedly achieved an apotheosis in the tinkling piano of Tinguely’s own Homage to New York, 1960, a piece that, at its premiere in the gardens of the old Museum of Modern Art, New York, famously collapsed into flames—the

  • Walter Pach

    During the first years of the twentieth century, Walter Pach (1883–1958)—painter and polyglot scholar—was in Paris, world center of the thrilling shifts then occurring in art. Pach, already liberated by the American Impressionist William Merritt Chase (with whom he studied), was equally responsive to the “Art Spirit” that animated Robert Henri’s students, the Ashcan School painters. This attractive, counter-academic blend of influences would inform the urban views, still lifes, and portraits that Pach would paint for a lifetime. A range of this work was on view in this presentation of

  • Robert Morris

    Robert Morris, now eighty-four, is a figure of singular importance to American sculpture, painting, Conceptualism, and performance art. His recent exhibition, which he titled—with admirable didactic zeal—“MOLTINGSEXOSKELETONSSHROUDS,” comprised several figural groups made of Belgian linen. Saturated with epoxy resin and draped over life-size mannequins, the linen, when dry, is lifted from its support, becoming, in turn, a ghostly exoskeleton, the memory of what had once been the weighty dross below: immaterial weightlessness versus earthen matter.

    The new shells of figures—light

  • Albert Oehlen

    The works in “Home and Garden,” the first major retrospective of Albert Oehlen’s work in New York, explore separate but parallel universes—representation and abstraction, manual dexterity and pixelated matrix—and commonly bring both together at once. Oehlen is a skilled painter, despite the sensation of glum helplessness his work often evokes, an emotional tenor fortuitously coincidental with (and generative of) our moment in art history when the “de-skilling” of painting passes for fiat: Expressionism as “inexpessionist painting . . . a pretext for an analysis of the act of painting

  • Gilbert & George

    This poignant, down-memory-lane exhibition presented Gilbert & George’s early works: ambitious wall-scale charcoal drawings, numerous little books, announcements, invitations, modest photographs, and letterpress productions. These often-elegant typographic efforts dated from the late 1960s through the mid-’70s, not a long time span when contrasted with the artists’ still ongoing and vaunted careers.

    In 1967, the Italian Gilbert Prousch (born 1943) and George Passmore (born 1942) from Devon, UK, joined forces at London’s Saint Martin’s School of Art. Their student affectations—can there be

  • Robert Motherwell

    “Although he is underrated today, in my opinion he was one of the very best of the Abstract Expressionist painters.” Clement Greenberg’s widely cited assessment of Robert Motherwell’s work from 1991 is generally perceived as high praise, though its careful formulation corresponds to my own sense of restraint about the artist’s work, even when faced with this selection of “Opens,” 1967–74, arguably the painter’s most daring thematic group.

    This ambivalence may owe in part to reasons more biographical than visual. Unlike the majority of his Abstract Expressionist confrères, so marked by first-generation

  • “Marvelous Objects: Surrealist Sculpture from Paris to New York”

    This comprehensive survey will include more than one hundred works of Surrealist sculpture by some twenty artists based throughout Europe and the US in addition to an unanticipated selection of Man Ray’s rayographs, shots of “La Poupée” by Hans Bellmer, and transgendering photographs by Claude Cahun. So extensive an overview necessarily includes automatic, biomorphic works such as Jean Arp’s Shirt Front and Fork, 1922, and Henry Moore’s Stringed Figure, No. 1, 1937, as well as parallel efforts by Noguchi and Calder. This biomorphism counters Surrealism’s equally marked