Robert Pincus-Witten

  • Fining it Down: Don Judd at Castelli

    ONE’S CRITICAL OPINIONS ABOUT recent American sculpture are almost entirely divorced from issues of pleasure and likeability although some of the artists are more immediately sensuous in their appeals than others. Whatever it is that makes the work of this group who are important seem important, it is clearly a function of an unswerving commitment to difficulty—at least insofar as Judd and Andre are concerned. The others—Morris, Sonnier, Serra—for all that is intractable in their work, waver by moments on the margin of an affable pictorialism, and it is this fact alone which may make Judd and

  • Hector Guimard

    The Museum of Modern Art’s survey of the work of Hector Guimard (1867–1942) is a disciplined and admiring resumé of the work of a great Art Nouveau architect-designer-decorator and opens issues that are not so immediately concerned with the purely formalistic or empiricist issues which have dominated most of the large body of research and opinion of the style. This kind of examination usually traces the serpentine contours and eccentric flat shapes of Art Nouveau back to the circle of Gauguin at Pont-Aven. This view is, of course, incontestable but it is also a wild commonplace which F. Lanier

  • Peter Young

    It was obvious from his fat dotted paintings on puzzle-figured grounds how deeply into problems derived from the all-overness of Abstract Expressionism Peter Young had gone in 1968. These pictures, still his most mature efforts I believe, were succeeded by smaller canvases tipped into lozenges, monochromatically grounded and maculated with constellations of dots, further clarifying Young’s relationship to late Monet, who is, after all, the progenitor of the all-over problem. Like many seeking artists, Young also appears to have recognized how hollow the tradition of high abstraction to which he

  • William Pettet

    Throughout 1968 it grew apparent that American field painting had entered a phase which might easily be called Mannerist; the fields of Frankenthaler and Olitski had been extenuated to extremes of thinness while being modulated according to particular artistic sensibilities. Dan Christensen, for example, adopted the lyrical, the high and the shrill while William Pettet opted for the dry and the blotched. This episode of utter thinness was followed by a thickening of surface—the fat field, an alternative to which most young artists initially drawn into the continuity of field painting, have at

  • Tom Holland

    Tom Holland opts for a no sweat modernity which appears to point out acute issues while it really deflates them to the rank of décor. Holland’s work interweaves and joins fiberglass sherds and lengths, speaking for a fascination with elemental problems of joining and construction. While, in Holland’s elaboration, however, the casual trimming, the snipping of the format, the folds and basket weaves, the redoublings back upon the path, the eccentric lengths and figures and the unanticipated relief may appear to speak of a hard Constructivist sensibility, I can only view this as an adjacency of

  • Robert Moskowitz

    Little seems to have happened to Robert Moskowitz since an auspicious debut in 1962 at Leo Castelli. At the time Moskowitz worked in a vein ancillary to Johns. The large collages of window shades on canvas were permutants of Johns’s Tennyson. Still, a clue of the present work was alluded to, the interior. To say “interior” perhaps falsifies the sense of the paintings because it gives to them an overly specific reference in daily experience. Moskowitz’s image looks very much like a corner of an empty room into which, at the ceiling, there runs a beam, and, often as not, into which, at the floor,

  • Richard Roth

    Much, perhaps most, of Richard Roth’s pictorial idiom is familiar, yet his work merits some passing appreciation if only because the vast and free scale is striking considering that the surface is glass. The idiom at hand is high Geometrical Minimalism; the technique enamel under glass, a method generally avoided in the 20th century.

    Roth’s references are geometrical. The closest and hardest picture plane is established by a clear grid system, by squares, some painted black, others gold. The spatial illusionism is a coefficient of a rigorously applied isometric perspective, the edgy paralleling

  • Jim Dine

    Pop art soured after 1963. By the mid-’60s it became evident that the movement could no longer sustain itself, bold together out of sheer stylistic glue, so to speak, and those figures who were to occupy positions of second and third rank began to identify themselves one by one—or fall away to nothingness. The artists of the movement sought out other modes of expression—some achieving a production of equal vigor, others, not. Rauschenberg, whose contributions were and are immense, opted for intermedia “technology”— a production often of a staggering dullness. Jasper Johns confirmed what had been

  • David Diao and Joel Shapiro

    Two exhibitions of high merit opened at Paula Cooper: acrylic paintings by David Diao and shelves displaying substances by Joel Shapiro. In both of these artists the problems of acute modernity are sensible and, at times, resolved less than idiosyncratically, at least insofar as Joel Shapiro is concerned.

    David Diao, for a few years now, has been devoted to wet field painting—emphasizing tonalist experiences in highly delimited ranges of color spread out upon a large canvas. The lyricism and the cloudiness are, on an obvious level, something too conventionally assigned to an Eastern ancestry—although

  • Melvin Edwards

    Melvin Edwards negotiates a supposed gap between geometrical minimalism and anti-form. Robert Morris has already accomplished this and in new field painting it is a commonplace—loose handling spread over a grid structure. Therefore, the criticism leveled is directed against the Whitney Museum for so obviously sponsoring the career of a young artist over those of the many artists who are responsible for having brought that style into being—Hesse, Andre, Flavin, Rosenquist, to name but a few. Edwards rejects the floor as the primary structural support (admitting too of the modish eclipse of the

  • Edward Avedisian

    Edward Avedisian’s new paintings are his most acutely distressed statements to date. Faced with painting himself out of a systematized color abstraction in which he dovetailed early Poons and Stella, Avedisian opted for a looser usage, focusing in on certain critical features of color field painting of about three years back—namely its immateriality and its limpidity, two conditions which contributed to color painting’s pent up sense of luminosity. However, Avedisian—like many figures in the broad front of second school field painting, Poons, Landfield, Ruda, Wofford particularly—has chosen to

  • Peter Stroud

    Peter Stroud is hampered by a sensibility predicated on a sage and tempered asseveration, a sensibility which by its fine hesitation has led to a high geometrical abstraction which appears to be dissatisfying even to the artist himself, precisely because the demands of this ever-unsatisfied and self-chastening hyperesthesia can never be met. American color painting, one of the sources of Stroud’s art, indicates a means whereby the artist may overcome his vitiating tendency for delicacy and affinement. The other strain of Stroud’s painting comes from a longer tradition, English geometrical