Susan Heinemann

  • Daniel Buren

    Since 1966 Daniel Buren has been painting identical vertical stripes, varying only the colors which alternate with white and the location in which the work is presented. A specific work, Seven Ballets in Manhattan, was performed around the city on seven successive days last May and June. Five “dancers” walked in line, carrying picket signs of printed paper vertical stripes (all equal size). The stripes covered both sides of the sign, their colors shifting from day to day, sometimes from sign to sign. Looking at the piece, I ask what is there? Vertical stripes. Yes, I can see that, but what does

  • Joseph Beuys

    Communication occurs in reciprocity: it must never be a one-way flow from teacher to taught. So oscillates . . . the master/pupil, transmitter/receiver relationship. So states Joseph Beuys in the catalog for “Art into Society” (ICA, London, 1974). And for three days last April Beuys talked to New York gallery-goers, uptown and downtown—this “oscillating” sculpture of verbal interchange acting as the live counterpart of his fixed object-environments, which remained after his departure. The day I sat listening to, occasionally joining in, discussion, the focal point was Beuys’s political ideas

  • Hans Haacke

    It’s tempting to begin writing about Hans Haacke’s new work with a list of his art credentials. Number one, he shows at an established gallery within the conventional art-marketing system. A further listing of exhibits, museum shows (rejections) might serve as a measure of reputation/significance. And what about the number of pieces sold, prices paid, etc.? Or a bibliography of reviews and reproductions, publicity given? How much would such statistics reveal about Haacke the artist, or even about Haacke as a member of the art world with all its socioeconomic ramifications?

    The reason for these

  • Douglas Davis

    In an October, 1973, article in Artforum, Douglas Davis stressed the need for “a proper understanding and use of content [in art]—of symbols and meanings that point outside toward the world.” He was particularly critical of American artists’ avoidance of, or naive, often “bathetic” handling of subject matter in their tacit continuation of the formalist emphasis on “art” structure. The predominant fear he pointed to is that “by dealing in meaning the work of art may immediately absorb itself into the world, losing its privileged (esthetic) shelter.” “We are all caught in the tautology that art

  • Roger Welch

    Humanness. The word points to the appeal of Roger Welch’s work. His recent piece Rodger Woodward—Niagara Falls Project is part of a planned series on “Near Death Experiences,” an attempt to recapture, to understand what it means almost to die. It is not the “Drama in Real Life” of Reader’s Digest fame, nor simply storytelling, but more a projection into, a sharing of, another’s experience, which reflects on one’s own. As in Welch’s earlier works, the narrative occurred in the past. One reaches it, not through distance as documented event, but through presence as remembered meaning. In July 1960,

  • Barry Le Va

    As I walked around, looking at the lengths and square-points of wood that demarcate Barry Le Va’s work, I tried to piece together the visual clues, to draw a mental image congruent with its title. For, while on close examination, the wood markers themselves imply a systematic arrangement behind their at first random appearance, it is the title that provides the orientation, the information necessary to locate these points in an ordered space. Centerpoints and Lengths (Through Points of Tangency)—5 Areas in 2 Areas: Separated and Partially Included, Separated and Partially Excluded—(each area

  • Roelof Louw

    The difficulty I find in looking at Roelof Louw’s recent work is that it’s too easy just to read the relations between the elements, coming up with a logic for the construction, and to feel that one has therefore “solved” the piece, understood. For example, three upright sheets of steel A, B, C stand, spaced apart, like the points of a triangle. C denotes full size. A appears considerably lower in height, but by mentally adding on the two segments lying on the floor in front of A one arrives at an equal size. Similarly, one combines the fractions of B in one’s head. Having performed this operation,

  • Dan Flavin

    The more I ponder over Dan Flavin’s shows, the less I find to write about. Maybe that’s too harsh. Does an artist always have to exhibit new work to remain interesting? No, but there’s a difference between development, the sense of questions still being asked, and repetition, the tired manipulation of a formula to produce rather than inquire. Flavin’s recent pieces seem to side with repetition. I’m not denying the beauty of the works, or the way in which the light paints, transforming, its environment. The green glow suffusing the room of the John Weber Gallery does retain a mystery as it envelops

  • Jacki Apple, Martha Wilson, and Nancy Kitchel

    In a large group show of “Conceptual” artists, the work of Jacki Apple, Martha Wilson, and Nancy Kitchel stood out. Recently, varying claims for women’s interests in art (not “understood” or denigrated by men) have been made. Often the emphasis has been on superficial connections to so-called womanly crafts (weaving) and “female” qualities (ephermeralness, fragility) or, dogmatically, on the difference of the feminine sexual perspective. What indeed intrigues me about these three women artists is their implicit (and sometimes explicit) questioning of what it means to be a woman, a questioning

  • Michelle Stuart

    Is it that as the end of the art season approaches, I become more and more jaded? Art and more art. And I find myself tiredly, haphazardly niching works into categories. Excitement lost. This is not so much a criticism of the particular artists I happen to be reviewing, but more a feeling growing about the art scene in general. Is there nothing which startles, disorients, blocks the accustomed analysis, requesting another language, a different approach? Is it all the same? A rehashing of established art “problems”? But perhaps there are clues, here and there. Times when the usual vocabulary no

  • Pat Steir

    In a way, Pat Steir’s paintings focus attention on the readiness with which one classifies pictorial meaning. As I’ve indicated before (Artforum, December, 1974), her works provoke questions, reflections on one’s assumptions of intended significance. Looking at Song. A penciled grid dividing the canvas into 16ths, stanzas of the whole. One’s eye jumping from square to square, top to bottom, side to side. In the center three lines of color—red, yellow, blue. Drawn around this a circle, partly painted out. At the edges, in the corners: A a red rose shape thinly painted over in white, a thicker

  • Michael Malloy

    Another clue found in Michael Molloy’s Shelves. For it’s difficult to pinpoint why these works fascinate me. Ostensibly they’re shelves. each containing a group of collaged objects with an accompanying text. A set of instructions, imperatives, dictating how to manipulate these things and what to expect. But here there’s a disjunction. Perhaps fantasy is the word I want. The objects seem familiar—everyday utensils: a tea strainer, a lock, a flower pot bowl, photographs. And the language prescribes known hand actions—placing, grasping, touching. Yet the projected results, although stipulated

  • Beryl Korot

    In describing Beryl Korot’s videotape Dachau, I could concentrate on the elaborate structuring of the piece. Four monitors flicking on and off, changing vistas at different intervals. The threads of a tapestry, weaving the fabric of narration. In fact, several diagrams hung on the walls illustrate this intertwining of relationships. But somehow that seems unimportant, an addendum (conceptual justification maybe?). Watching the tapes what comes across is a sense of endless time, repetition and sameness punctuated by the blinking on and off of the image. A kind of relentless rhythm which complements

  • Hank Stromberg

    Trying to pinpoint when it is that a gimmick takes over. Hank Stromberg’s earlier photographic work includes such iconoclastic gestures as leaving a trail of photographic cockroaches behind on a tour of the White House or posting Mr. Subways contest announcements on the trains, much to the MTA’s consternation. In his current show the gesture is subdued. A View of My Grandmother’s Place. Cutout black-and-white photos of the objects which adorn the walls of a home cluster on the gallery walls. The pots and pans, the worn utensils of a kitchen, a housecoat, an apron, an old-fashioned radio. One

  • Carol Kinne

    I’m not sure how I feel about Carol Kinne’s paintings. Bob’s Double Decker Yellow Draw most definitively indicates the use of a system. A grid and divisions of its sections are drawn on a yellow ground. In each section an area is filled in in one of four hues—the fifth, a bright orange, appears as the wild card. For, as the title suggests, Kinne “draws” cards, number and suit ostensibly determining the shape and color of the filled-in areas. The exact rules of this process are unclear, but they don’t seem important. What stands out is the use of a method which circumvents esthetic choices of

  • Diane Karol

    A related question arises with Diane Karol’s work. Is this a symptom of my jadedness? I’m tempted to describe Karol’s pieces as three-dimensional landscape paintings. Flying over Grass consists of tubes covered in stained fabric and suspended in an irregular arc from the ceiling. Below on the floor stand similar cylinders, varying in height, again wrapped with stained fabric. The colors are mainly yellow to green, arguing for the landscape reference. And I can’t get away from the sense of a pictorial notion transferred into space. As if placement in three dimensions were a guarantee of renewed

  • Cusi Masuda

    My question isn’t restricted to painting. Cusi Masuda’s sculpture seems to depend on the dictum of eccentricity for interest. True, the whiteness of the strange plaster objects filling the gallery carries an expressive import. The Death Sand title hinting at possible associations. But the meaning isn’t clear, sensed. And I return to the objects. Most of the space is taken up by stacks of plaster window frames. The indents or windows sometimes closed off with plaster, sometimes left open as holes, sometimes covered with glass. On the floor in front, connected by a rope attached at either end and

  • “A Response To The Environment”

    It’s not that I want to arbitrarily label and categorize artists. In a sense, that’s my major objection to the pretense of the large group show “A Response to the Environment.” That it picks up on surface similarities among artists, tying diverse works together around a tenuous connection. That the theme becomes just an excuse for a show. And that instead of attempting to define or reveal a constant, the exhibit simply grasps a broad, vague term and amalgamates a hodge-podge of works which make some nodding reference to the chosen designation. A response to the environment. What does that mean?

  • Cecile Abish, Alice Aycock and Rita Myers

    As a footnote: it seems ironic that there is on the nearby Douglass campus of Rutgers an outdoor piece which is not, however, included in the show. A long trench dug by Cecile Abish; the excavated dirt crossing it in inverse relation. And whatever other reservations I may have about their work, inside the Douglass art gallery Alice Aycock and Rita Myers show pieces that are more a response to their particular environment than anything in the Rutgers exhibit—except perhaps for Hans Haacke’s Condensation Piece. Aycock’s installation is in a small closed room. When one opens the door, one is excluded

  • Robert Barry

    Ironically this review of Robert Barry's slide piece relies on description. The attempt to represent, to categorize a work which itself reflects on that process of structuring information. For Magnificent—Trees revolves around the use of language, whether through words or pictures. Language serving to define a reality, to clarify and encode it; language extending one's perception, expanding it through thinking, evoking a conception of nature; and yet language remaining imprecise, tangent to experience. But to begin with the setting for these speculations. A darkened room. Seated enclosed within