Ronny H. Cohen

  • Lynton Wells

    LYNTON WELLS is probably best known for sophisticated treatments of photographic images on canvas, but at the end of the ’70s he turned his attention to traditions of painting, focusing on landscape. His recent works are humorous versions of the academic mythological landscapes. Untitled, 1980, recalls the Old Masters in several ways; its monumental dimensions, 88 by 107 inches are typical of the so-called academic machine; the ambiguous female nude (is she human or statue?), with her upper torso disappearing into the surrounding lush landscape, brings to mind the theme of metamorphosis; the

  • “The Page as Alternative Space, 1909–1929"

    “The Page as Alternative Space, 1909–1929” organized by Clive Phillpot, is an informative survey of magazines associated with several major 20th-century art movements. The show examines the modernist sensibility from a perspective which too often has been overshadowed by the dominance of painting and sculpture. Among the magazines on view are Italian Futurism’s Lacerba, Swiss/French Dada’s Dada, Hungarian Futurism’s Ma and Russian Constructivism’s Vesch. There are examples of covers and inside pages from 18 different magazines in all. Curiously, Les Soirées de Paris and L’Esprit Nouveau, two

  • Louise Bourgeois

    This show is the first retrospective of paintings and drawings by Louise Bourgeois. Concentrating on her early career, beginning in about 1940, it contains many never-before-seen items from the ’40s and ’50s, and goes through the mid ’70s. The presentation is chronological; the selection, iconographic. The examples on view, according to curator Jerry Gorovoy, have been chosen to illustrate her treatment of “ . . . three recurring visual elements; the tree, the house, and the figure.” Of course, all of these are subjects rich in personal and universal meanings, and used symbolically by the artist

  • Richard Hamilton

    Richard Hamilton’s involvement with Pop art and interiors—the two are inextricably linked in his work—dates back to the ’50s. At that time, he belonged to a small circle of artists and critics exploring the cultural significance of the consumer-conscious society that was emerging with a bang in America and being echoed in England and other Western European countries. Like his colleagues (the painter Peter Blake and the critic Lawrence Alloway, among others), Hamilton responded to the challenge of making popular consumer culture the subject of a new style of modernist art, one which was to find

  • Michael Graves

    If Michael Graves, the architect, ever really got his way, then we’d all better brush up on classical allegories, color symbolism, and architectural history. Since 1967, his buildings have evolved along highly personal lines from the modernist influenced starting point of Le Corbusier to an aggressively post-modernist vision drawn largely from a variety of pre-modernist periods. Several recent projects by Graves, either executed or in progress, are documented in this show. The Portland Public Office Building for Portland, Oregon, 1979–80, is the most ambitious and most revealing.

    What is immediately

  • “Art on the Beach”

    “Art on the Beach” is the second biennial sculpture exhibition held on an otherwise barren landfill, part of the ground broken for a still uncompleted river’s edge renewal project called Battery Park City. The site is one of the most dramatic in Manhattan, having as its backdrop the densely packed architectural panorama of Lower Manhattan, of which the twin towers of the World Trade Center are the most conspicuous symbol. The unique art potential of this site has been developed by Creative Time, a not-for-profit art organization, which, since 1973, has organized exhibitions in unusual locations,

  • “Temporal Structures”

    If “Art on the Beach” is take-off-the-shoes informal, then “Temporal Structures” at Wave Hill is black-tie formal. Again, the site determines not only many of the issues inherent in the art (nine examples in all), but also colors our initial responses to the show. Wave Hill is a landmark estate of 28 acres, secluded in a glorious stretch of lush green hills and forests overlooking the Hudson River. There are no signs here of the 20th-century concrete and asphalt jungle. Instead, this is an extremely rarified environment, imbued with money, power and tradition (Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt,

  • Sculpture Garden

    With the largest number of works and the broadest scope of the three exhibitions, the Sculpture Garden at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center on Ward’s Island provides the most physically demanding and adventurous experience. First of all, the site is a small island located in the East River at the juncture of three of New York’s boroughs—Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. Residents of the island include both psychiatric patients, as well as some of the staff and their families. For two years, the island—which is divided into well-tended lawns and woods surrounding main buildings and wild stretches

  • Max Neuhaus and Peter Downsbrough

    The rigors of Ward’s Island prepare us for the ultimate clash of art and life on urban streets which in New York, takes place in Times Square. Possibly the most famous site in the world, Times Square has, since the late ’70s, attracted artists’ imaginations, and continues to do so. Avoiding the hectic hustles and hassles which occur on the street, artists like Max Neuhaus and Peter Downsbrough have concentrated on the environment below and above ground level. Located under a street grating, in a ventilator shaft for the subway, Neuhaus’ soundpiece, Underground Music(s) is an electronic installation,

  • Energism: An Attitude

    HERE WE ARE in 1980. Modernism is still the framework within which (or, if you prefer, out of which) the “progressive” art culture operates. Of course, art and modernism are old friends, art having run the modernist track many times in the last eight decades in a succession of movements or “isms.” And in each movement the lay of the track changes, in some cases veering along the more formal courses towards issues of style and process; and in other cases taking the more literary course, towards issues of content and representation. According to conventional wisdom—in other words, all revisionist

  • Ronald Bladen

    Ronald Bladen’s recent show consisted of a small group of sculptures and working drawings, executed from 1977 to 1980. The sculptures are plywood. painted black, and have flat surfaces, straight edges and razor-sharp corners. Installed in the main gallery they range in size from Light Year (77 by 205 1/2 by 20 inches), a monumental structure of cantilevered diagonals and verticals, boasting a walk-under-me section, constructed especially for this show, to Black Saxon, 1977 (72 by 127 by 12 inches), a design in profile recalling a coiled, mechanistic snake, to Black Lightning, 1979 (20 by 50 by

  • “The Italian Wave”

    “The Italian Wave” is a group show of contemporary Italian art, organized by three Bologna-based art critics/historians—Francesca Alinovi, Renata Barilli, Roberto Daolio—and brought to us by the Holly Solomon Gallery. In spite of the title and sponsor, there are no Italian clones either of American New Wave or Solomon pattern-decorative painters among the eight artists in the show. Instead, the artists on view represent what the show’s organizers, in essays (available in English) in the accompanying small, illustrated catalogue, have called a “wave” of “creative energies,” issuing from the