Robert Pincus-Witten

  • “Black Artists of the 1930s”

    The Whitney Museum’s survey of art in America in the 1930s received heavy coverage for reasons that were not, possibly, immediately central to its considerations. Shortly after the opening one read in The New York Times of its having been picketed by a group of artist militants angered by the neglect of black painters which they felt had characterized the Whitney manifestation. Their charge, it seems to me, if it is to be given credence at all, should have been predicated not on a census percentage representation but rather on the possibility that the sources normal to a practicing curator,

  • Jo Baer and Al Leslie

    Jo Baer continues to exploit a strongly analytical and didactic penchant. Her seemingly empty canvases opt for marginal preoccupations similar to those of a wide front of intellectually oriented paintings (and sculptures as well), from the arid work of Miss Baer herself to the liquefactious aerations of Jules Olitski. Most recently Miss Baer presented a square black border fitted against the margins of the canvas itself. This in turn was lined in sequence with a red edge, a blue edge and a yellow edge—three canvases in all. Such didacticism may be equated with similar attachments in the expository

  • Chryssa

    The occasional subtitles from Iphigenia in Aulis—homages to the recent performance of Irene Papas as Clytemnestra here in New York—have nothing to do with the distinct merits of Chryssa’s latest exhibition. It is a pretty sop to the Rag Business to imagine that they do. A Flock of Morning Birds, or Clytemnestra: The First Scream, described as the twisting of Miss Papas’s “body into a shocked S” (Chryssa to Chauncey Howell, Women’s Wear Daily, Feb. 23, 1968) are only fat “S” forms, punkt, and result naturally from her own earlier experimentation. The Gates of Time Square of 1965–66 meant, if

  • Stephen Antonakos

    Like Chryssa, Antonakos also works in neon, but for the reasons which make Chryssa’s epurative work commendable, his seem notably stiff. This, despite a simpler and clearer means. There is an allusive feature to Chryssa’s sculpture which softens all the rigorous theory.

    In Antonakos’s exhibition there is only one completed neon structure which is accompanied by several projects. If ever they were raised, they would doubtless be handsomer than the one exhibited. My favorite model is a kind of Lyman Kippian portal of orange rods—though the scale of the width of the neon tube is grossly violated.

  • Suzi Gablik

    For reasons having little to do with her work, Suzi Gablik’s qualities were not illuminated at the Photographic Image exhibition recently held at the Guggenheim Museum. The delicacy and sensibility of her art was lost in the vast Wright spiral. Although four of her works were shown there (they reappear in the present exhibition) they scarcely made an impression. In the Alan Gallery, however, a room in proper scale relation to the smaller dimensions of her work, one could be struck by Gablik’s command of paint and collage and her literary turn of mind. The close reading of her paintings made

  • Thomas Downing

    Thomas Downing presents a dozen pieces of constant format, a channel with fretted folds at either side. In a movement in which manipulative personality is sacrificed to the search for one’s own signature shape—Downing’s contribution is a rejection of the anticipated isometrics common to a wide segment of the abstract illusionist group (another faction plays at space-annihilating permutation, i.e. illusionism versus elusiveness). Downing deals instead in a flip-side Renaissance single-point perspective, bringing to mind by its very reversal, Ron Davis’s recent Uccellesque double polyhedrons. The

  • Ray Johnson

    Of a mixed bag of Rauschenberg, Cage, Cunningham, Lippold and Ray Johnson—who tore about the lower reaches of New York City in a black hearse a generation back—all but the last named have come into lions shares of renown. Of course, Johnson has had his New York Correspondence School to slake a thirst for infra-fame, if this modest appetite can be attributed to the benignly sweet, perennial teenager. The general feeling around is that Johnson is due for his cut of esteem and high time too. This leads to hard problems, for in Johnson’s work there is a wide breach between those elements usually