Ronny H. Cohen

  • “Magazine Covers”

    If you’ve ever bought a magazine because of its cover, then “Magazine Covers,” a fascinating survey of the development of this form of graphic expression, is for you. The show includes more than 140 examples of American and Western European publications from the last hundred years, and it reveals how magazine covers have responded directly and immediately to changing styles in art, to fads, and to shifts in reading habits. Magazines are very much creatures of capitalism, filling an industrialized culture’s need to know and reinforcing its understanding of information as power. Magazines also

  • “Color Photography: 5 New Views”

    Within the last two decades color photography has become commonplace without losing any of its specialty. Color techniques now provide sharper, richer, truer to life images than ever before. The media have made color photography a prime player in the information game, using it to bring home—often in sublimated form (think of print advertising)—their message. Of course, what’s at the source of the appeal of color photography is its ability to show and tell more about people, places, and events—the way we were and it was, so to speak—than black-and-white photography is able to do.

    All of the five

  • “Love Is Blind”

    Love, 20th-century style, was surveyed in this large, splashy, something-for-eveyone group photography show. Arranged salonlike in vertical rows, the display was a provocative collagist juxtaposition of every imaginable love attitude and love coupling. Pieces numbered about 90 in all, and included works by photographers, portrait-machine shots, movie stills, and even a magazine cover. Both color and black-and-white prints were on view.

    Approaches toward love varied, from the documentary—E.J. Bellocq’s Storyville portraits—through the slice-of-life intimacy of Diane Arbus and the bravura theatricality

  • Alexandra Exter’s Design for the Theater

    IN NOVEMBER 1916, THE Kamernyi Theater of Moscow put on Thamira Kytharid, a tragedy written by the Russian poet Innokentii Annenskii, directed by the theater’s founder, Alexander Tairov, and designed by avant-garde painter Alexandra Exter. This was Exter’s first theatrical production, and in it she literally set the stage for the first truly modernist style of theatrical design, which she later developed in productions for the Kamernyi and other theaters in Russia before 1923 and afterwards throughout the West. What Exter offered was a new vision of the stage as a constructively dynamic spatial

  • Wendy Knox-Leet

    Wendy Knox-Leet is a young Canadian artist who has been living and working in New York for the last year. Her recent sculptures are an engaging expression of the on-the-wall fare currently popular in New York. Additive in structure, the sculptures consist of various layers of wire mesh and other materials—aluminum, coal, acrylic, enamel, gels, aquarium sand and glitter among them. They vary a great deal in size and shape, materials, textures and colors. What the works share, however, is an attitude of “aggressive organicity,” the result of making both formal elements (flat and folded planes,

  • Marian Zazeela

    Marian Zazeela’s The Magenta Lights offers a particularly intriguing point of view, one located in the wondrous realm of spectral energy. She transforms material into pure and intense color sensations, and makes a perceptual encounter a spiritual experience. The Magenta Lights is an environmental piece in every sense of the word.

    The high, wide and handsome space of the former New York Mercantile Exchange Trading Floor, a landmark example of 19th-century American public architecture, with its massive standing columns and a catwalk extending halfway around the room, is totally empty except for a

  • Lynn Hershman

    Lynn Hershman is a California-based artist whose various activities include environmental projects, photography, film, and narrative printed matter. This group of works clearly represents her interests, which center around cultural and sociological issues. Among the examples on view, the ones dealing with fashion and American heroes are the most provocative. In this group, collaged and painted photographs are manipulated to comment critically and in some cases humorously on America’s collective aspirations, as defined by the mass media. One of Hershman’s favorite topics—judging by the fictional

  • Antonio Segui

    Through the years the Argentinian painter Antonio Segui has offered a provocative and personal interpretation of various idioms, ranging from impressionist to so-called magical genres. His recent paintings and pastels belong to the latter category. Silent, without atmosphere, Segui’s urban, jungle and beach scenes are South American/European in style, setting and feeling. Stressing a caricature kind of drawing, simplifying both the facial features and silhouettes of the figures, his work brings to mind images by Henri Rousseau, George Grosz, and Fernand Léger, among others. What’s magical about

  • Jeffrey Lew

    Jeffrey Lew’s outer-directed paintings and prints are among the most intriguing in town this season. His attitude towards relationships among concrete elements—technique/format, materials/surfaces—is exciting because it is active. The images, large schematic representations of books, seem literally to rush at the viewer. Whether the volume is opened to display a rainbow of colored pages or closed to reveal a highly textured back and spine, as in Split Decision, the image is a metaphorical come-on, suggesting the intersection of the worlds of learning and art: This is clearly a literary, pictorial

  • “The Russian Revolution in Art—3”

    The more examples there are of early 20th-century Russian avant-garde art hanging in one place, the better it all looks. This group show of work from 1914 to 1925 includes familiar names from the pioneering generation (Alexandra Exter, Kasimir Malevich, Liubov Popova), a few of their younger colleagues (El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko), and others who have become best known for their relationships with Malevich (Vassily Ermilov and Ivan Kliun, who reflected Malevich’s influence at different stages of their own careers, and a few of his more orthodox Suprematist followers among the Unovis

  • James Biederman

    In his first one-person exhibition since his initial solo outing at Artists Space in 1974, James Biederman shows sculptures and works on paper that recall Russian Constructivist interests in spatial issues.

    The painted, wood sculptures, with their “I am what I am,” bare-it-all structures, stressing parallel and counter-balanced elements, and their object-like good looks, bring to mind the spatial constructions of Alexander Rodchenko and the Obmokhu group. His works on paper, executed in gouache, pastel and charcoal, suggest the line constructions and architectonic drawings by Rodchenko and

  • Jacqueline Monnier

    JACQUELINE MONNIER’s exhibition of kites, sculptural assemblages and mixed media paintings is the first American show for this French-born but New York-raised artist (who now lives once again in France). What is immediately striking about the examples on view—all made between 1968 and 1980—is their beauty and the particular attitude which the pieces in each category take toward their own beauty. As is true of much contemporary art, attitude—here involving beauty—is at issue. In other words, having beauty in 1980 is no longer enough; instead it’s all in how the individual work of art wears it.