Roberta Pancoast Smith

  • Joel Shapiro

    An exhibition of sculpture by Joel Shapiro initiated the use of a new space donated by the City of New York to the Institute for Art and Urban Resources. This organization, directed by Alanna Heiss, was responsible for three exhibitions last spring in the warehouse at 10 Bleecker Street and the large group show under the Brooklyn Bridge two years ago. The space this time is the clocktower atop a 13-story municipal building at 108 Leonard Street in downtown Manhattan; it will serve for the exhibition of work by contemporary artists for at least a year. The Clocktower is reached via elevator,

  • Carl Andre

    In his recent “Projects” exhibition in The Museum of Modern Art’s sculpture garden, Carl Andre was also confronted with a very charged, assertive space, in this case one filled with other people’s sculpture. The results involve small size, large scale, and assertion through focus and implication rather than actual ground covered. Andre’s work is more explicitly horizontal than Shapiro’s and consequently involves some of the concerns discussed above, a similarity increased by the opportunity to view the work from the third floor galleries of the museum.

    Each of Andre’s nine sculptures, called

  • Will Insley

    A more general, relatively unrealized concern with the horizontal was apparent in Will Insley’s exhibition of drawings, photomontages, notes, and models for Onecity at Fischbach uptown. Onecity, Insley’s city of the future, will exist somewhere in the central United States, will be 400 miles square and will house the nation’s entire population (400 million). The show is interesting in several ways, not the least of which involves confronting the idea of how things can or will continue to exist, given current political, environmental, and technological trends. Insley’s city is complicated and

  • David Novros

    Another artist involved with the intuitive, arbitrary alteration of a relatively rigid format is the painter David Novros, whose fresco studies (oil on paper) were recently shown at Rosa Esman Gallery, shortly before an exhibition of his paintings at the Bykert Gallery. In both media, Novros works with rectangular shapes perpendicular to each other and the edge of the support. Several of the small fresco studies revealed a new scale and simplicity further verified in the Bykert show. At Bykert, one of the best paintings was a large work (7’ x 17’) of four vertical panels, the two outside being

  • Steven Gwon

    The first one-man exhibition of work by Steven Gwon followed Novros’ at Rosa Esman Gallery. Gwon fills square sheets of graph paper with various patterns, usually arbitrarily predetermined and involving linear counting. In some cases the grids are filled with actual numbers, which pro-cede consecutively and are not repeated, even from drawing to drawing. A couple of drawings in this show are made of five-digit numbers. In one they form a square spiral into the center of the paper, changing direction with each new line so that the numbers are consecutive as a line and also always pointing “up”

  • Robert Reed

    Robert Reed exhibited paintings from his Plum Nellie Series in his concurrent exhibitions at the Whitney Museum and Washburn Gallery. The series is so named because its main color emphasis is a deep purple, variously combined with bright green or turquoise. These colors are applied in neat visible splatters and swipes of a wide brush and intersected by sharp-edged white rectangles. The combination is a crisp, seamless version of Hans Hofmann, a variation facilitated by an awareness as well of hard-edge and lyrical abstraction. For the most part, Reed works on large rectangles. Occasionally two

  • Bill McGee

    Bill McGee’s paintings, on the other hand, do not involve an amalgam of sources, as do Reed’s. They result singularly from the achievements of Barnett Newman. McGee’s paintings are mostly one color with two narrow vertical stripes right at the canvas edges, a few inches in, or which trisect the canvas into equal thirds. McGee stains his painting in strong dark colors, deep reds, purples, blues, and greens which are slightly mottled. The surface is somewhat Baroque and counters the exactness established by the lines. In the largest work, four equal areas of different blues are separated by thin,

  • David Budd and William Jensen

    David Budd and William Jensen seem explicitly involved with the formation of physical surface in their respective one-man painting exhibitions at Tibor de Nagy and Fischbach uptown. Their common failing is that they still use this physical approach to achieve a very usual kind of imagery. Budd applies heavy Mars and Ivory black oil paint in small regular strokes. Groups of little round hills and horizon lines are delineated by shifts from one black to the other and by changes in the direction and patterning of the strokes. For the most part, the show consisted of two series of four canvases

  • Nancy Spero

    Nancy Spero’s work involves, like that of Reed and McGee, the achievements of another artist, although in this case they are literary. Spero works in collage on long strips of paper, combining small strange figures with quotes from the writing of the French poet Artaud. Artaud’s writing is perverse and painful, revealing the tortured, creative intelligence of a man who blasphemed bourgeoise society and suffered its injustices (he was incarcerated in France for several years). Spero’s figures are equally contorted combinations of human and animal parts which suggest—as in her serpents with human

  • David Tremlett

    David Tremlett showed a number of pieces in his Projects exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. Tremlett is British; his work relates in various ways to the landscape, and his travels through England and the rest of the world.

    The first piece, Green, consists of slides of the English countryside projected on a wall, in continual rotation. The shots are random and unslick (and, therefore, represent more nearly the way the countryside is really seen), generally alternating shots of trees, wooded paths, fences, with longer ones of farmlands and horizons. Green is peaceful, lulling, perhaps a bit

  • Gene Davis, Sally Drummond, James Bishop, Doug Ohlson, Bill Jensen, Ray Parker, Robert Mangold, and Ron Gorchov

    Fischbach mounted a group show of abstract painting, companion piece to the Realist painting show held earlier in the season. Gene Davis and Sally Drummond continue their abstract styles, which are neither credible or discreditable, filling the entire canvas respectively with vertical stripes and dots. James Bishop’s monochrome rust-colored painting, through which glows the faint outline of a window, is perhaps too close to Rothko’s work, as is a painting by Doug Ohlson. Still working with round sprayed shapes, Ohlson has increased their number until they overlap. The shapes in this painting,

  • John Button, Alice Neel, Lowell Nesbit, Philip Pearlstein, George Schneeman, Sylvia Sleigh, and Rosemary Strider

    “The Male Nude,” an exhibition organized by John Perreault at the School of Visual Arts Gallery, corroborates the claim of the most conservative art historians, that contemporary artists cannot draw the figure. Of course, the second half of that claim, that they therefore make abstract art does not, in this case, follow—although one might wish it had. The artists in this show are John Button, Alice Neel, Lowell Nesbitt, Philip Pearlstein, George Schneeman, Sylvia Sleigh, and Rosemary Strider. Their work all includes at least one (or in the case of Nesbitt, part of one) male nude. The work