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

  • 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

  • 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