Robert Pincus-Witten

  • Bruce Nauman

    That I happened to find several of Bruce Nauman’s pieces at this first one-man exhibition in New York City adolescent and contemptible in no way means that he is avoiding serious artistic issues. What Nauman is facilely sparring with, it seems to me, concerns the widest possible leeway in the fabrication of an art object, the least accredited result and the least predictable method. But these commendable aims carry him through a whole set of postures which, to all but the most short-sighted, already have been enacted with far more revolutionary results. Our present generation of War Baby Why

  • Bibiena Family Drawings

    Diane Kelder, who earlier had arranged exhibitions which struck amazing theatrical notes on the painting of Monsù Desiderio, as well as a view of representative Baroque diversions, Scenes and Spectacles, has surpassed herself in the present installation of drawings by the Bibiena family, from European and American collections, now at the Philadelphia Museum and to move to the Finch College Museum.

    The Bibiena were remarkable. Headed by two brothers, Ferdinando Galli Bibiena and Francesco Bibiena, whose careers spanned the late 17th and early 18th centuries, their sure architectural hands and

  • “Art In The Mirror”

    An instructive and arresting selection of works by artists who have employed old art for the creation of new has been assembled for the Museum of Modern Art by Gene R. Swenson. Swenson’s working premise was that these works “reflect art itself, and its place in the world both as subject and point of departure.” As might be expected from the organizer’s earlier writings (notably last season’s The Other Tradition, a catalog and exhibition for the Institute of Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania) Swenson is attracted by works that “direct questions, insults and homages toward art”

  • Larry Poons

    Much of the impact of Larry Poons’s earlier work was caused by the assault of a brilliant chromatic braille on the fingertips, so to speak, of the optical nerve. The present installation of four wall-size paintings, the fruit of this year’s labor, appears to be a reversal of Poons’s potent visual exploration (with its duplicitous and delightful cinematographic neon after-images) in favor of the diaphanous. In this altered context Poons’s delicate pencil grid begins to function less as system and more as a vertical, horizontal and diagonal webwork. Poons is also now more consistently in line with

  • Louise Nevelson

    There is no doubt that the present quasi-retrospective of Louise Nevelson’s sculpture at the Whitney, dispersed throughout its most prestigious 4th floor gallery, is among the most stunning and evocative installations seen in New York in a long time. Much praise must go to our leading woman sculptor for the perfectionism and imagination deployed in the setting of her work. But in thus adding a chirrup to the din of adulation which has met this exhibition, one should also take the liberty of sounding a note of reservation and restraint.

    That Louise Nevelson should be considered one of our unassailable

  • The 1930’s

    The 1930s is in many respects an admirable and instructive resumé which aids in satisfying a growing curiosity about the coexistent and overlapping adventures of this misrepresented decade. Curator William Agee is to be praised for his rejection of the exclusivist view of a so-called Social Realist domination of the period. He gives equal time to American Surrealism, American Abstraction, and, somewhat more questionably, European expatriate art being produced in America at that moment. To my disappointment, I find that a particularly important area of the thirties has been neglected: I mean the

  • Francis Bacon

    Today, there are very few—if indeed any—great representational Expressionist painters. If, in fact, there are, then perhaps Francis Bacon is the single greatest exponent of the mode. This being so, then he is a very great painter indeed, and the following carping may be read from the outset as nothing more than the murmurings of preconception set up against a painting which, while breaking rules, somehow manages to succeed. But I begin to wonder whether in violating canons of good painting Bacon really succeeds in establishing new desiderata. I think not.

    My caveat is concerned with the kind of