Whitney Halstead

  • Twelve Chicago Artists

    THE EXHIBITION “TWELVE CHICAGO PAINTERS” ORGANIZED BY the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis shows four paintings by each of the artists. It is a good show, handsomely installed, simple and unpretentious. In age, the artists range from 23 to 35 and none of the paintings are less recent than 1963; most of them were painted in 1965. Jan van der Marck, curator, and in charge of the exhibition, makes no unwarranted claims for a cross-section view nor does the show purport to be a sampling in either breadth or depth. It is admittedly a selection. These artists are very much a part of the current Chicago

  • The Hodes Collection

    BARNET HODES, A LAWYER by profession, former counsel of the City of Chicago and active in various civic affairs acquired some of his first paintings in the ’40s, a Villon and a Braque among others. Association in Paris with one of his clients, William Copley, brought him his first close contact with Surrealism. The works in Copley’s collection were a revelation in themselves but of equal or even greater importance was the personal contact with the artists of the movement. Hodes’ professional background, coupled with an inherent tendency for investigation, led to an exploration of the configuration

  • Claes Oldenberg, László Moholy Nagy

    Claes Oldenburg has said that instead of working in a single studio he prefers the possibility of working in several, each located in different cities, in fact each city itself would become a studio. One of these, he has said, would be Chicago. With this city as its theme, his three-times postponed Chicago show was held in May at the Richard Feigen Gallery. It consisted of constructions, models and drawings—and also, of equal importance, his comments in the catalog, rewritten from notes kept in Chicago during his visits here since October 1967.

    The statements in the catalog may be said to explain

  • Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection

    An exhibition of the Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection of primitive art has opened the season at the Chicago Arts Club. The show is handsomely installed and there is an excellent catalog with extensive documentation of each piece. Nowhere in the catalog introduction, written by Allan Wardwell, is the term “primitive art” used. Traditionally it has been applied to art from the indigenous cultures of Africa, Oceania and Indian America, all of which evolved independently of the Euro-American and Oriental cultures, and all of which are included in the collection. Historically, “primitive,” when

  • Eleanor Dube, Christine Ramberg, Roger Brown and Phil Hanson

    The Hyde Park Art Center continues to exhibit work by outstanding local artists, more often than not presenting them in their first major showing. In this context was the “False Image” show in November which included Eleanor Dube, Christine Ramberg, Roger Brown and Phil Hanson. The name under which the group exhibited came close to reflecting the underlying theme of their highly subjective, introspective and often subtle and understated works. Most of the paintings were less than one foot in height or width, and there were over 80 pieces by the four artists.

    The idea of the movie house, or perhaps

  • David Smyth

    David Smyth’s paintings at the Allan Frumkin Gallery took as their point of departure structures such as girders, walls, smokestacks, elevator machinery, glimpses of pipes, tubes, tanks of factories—material which is familiar and almost commonplace. Such material itself contributed little and it was Smyth’s achievement to make it visually significant, which he succeeded in doing often if not always. His drawing of these forms is simplified (the precise black outline for each form seems to be well suited to his needs); color is limited and cast shadow is used with discretion (the color of the

  • Christo

    During part of January and February, a period when the weather seemed to call for it, Christo wrapped the Museum of Contemporary Art—a “Wrap in Wrap Out.” Aside from the fact that it made the rather nondescript building more interesting, visually, it was an obvious challenge to the concept of a museum or of it to a work of art in the conventional sense (a position which Jan van der Marck, the museum’s director has done much to enunciate). One is tempted to suggest that certain paintings and sculptures would be improved by concealing them underneath a wrapping.

    Wrapped packages, in art or otherwise,

  • Dan Flavin

    The second major exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art was Dan Flavin’s Pink and “Gold.” The reception which it received in this city was a mixed one and in this respect it paralleled the varied and mixed attitudes which have greeted the new museum and its program.

    Flavin’s show epitomized the paradoxical—a quality which has not always found favor in art. The placing of the fluorescent tubes in an arithmetical progression (one which contradicted the illusion of visual perspective) was impersonal, cool (as “cool” as the light which they radiated) and yet it became a uniquely personal idea.

  • Chicago

    One aspect of Surrealism, especially where it touches on Romanticism, is the use of fantasy in landscape, either interior or exterior. Fantasy or the proverbial dream-state is the prerequisite for the exploration of this terrain. Undoubtedly landscape allows the greatest latitude to the artist whose means are fantasy. Plausibility is less often a condition than when we view still life or the human figure. Identification with the latter is usually so strong that we are alerted to any distortion; objects with symbolic associations are both more and less open to a fantastic treatment.

    The first

  • Chicago

    In a joint exhibition of painting and sculpture, the Hyde Park Art Center showed the work of Allan Boutin and Vladmir Bubulo. Bubulo’s sizable paintings are composed of flat areas of color curling over the picture area. With little pattern or development of line they are limited to shape, shapes which interact between subject and ground. The surface of these paintings marked by lumps and ridges of pigment could, conceivably play a part in the total statement but they do not, and such surface textures seem to be at variance with the painted forms, even a hindrance to their realization.

    Boutin’s

  • Chicago

    For the past few months most of our attention was focused on sculpture, three events specifically. In August the large Picasso head was unveiled; for nine weeks (June 23 to August 27) there was a large exhibition of sculpture at the Art Institute; and early in the summer there was a show of the work by local sculptors, the seventh annual New Horizons in Sculpture at Marina City.

    This show, organized and sponsored annually by the North Shore Art League, included some 50-odd artists and was a lively if uneven group of works which ranged in form from the organic through the mechanically inspired

  • Chicago

    “The 70th Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity” was on view at the Art Institute of Chicago during March. The 75 pieces in the show covered the work of artists in this region in breadth if not in depth and it should be said at the outset that the show contains the highest percentage of good pieces of any of these annuals in recent years. Big omnibus exhibitions of this sort are a questionable way of evaluating a particular segment of work, but both tradition and the considerable amount of prize money (thought by some to be anomalous and anachronistic in

  • Chicago

    “I can no longer go into my studio, close the door and work. It is not soundproofed against the cries of children, nor sealed against the smoke of burning buildings or the tear gas of the police . . . .” Although not all artists spoke so eloquently, this statement expressed the feelings of the great majority about the malaise which is the result of the conflict between their inner world of feeling and the harsh events around them, specifically those which occurred here in August. The mood was easily felt and the conflict was apparent in a series of exhibitions which opened in late October and

  • Chicago

    The third “Hairy Who” exhibition occurred in the late spring and it was the finest to date. This was true both of the works themselves, and also of the installation. Karl Wirsum’s “skullpture” was an innovation; Gladys Nilsson’s work, while not drastically new in theme, showed her continued growth in power and her unobtrusive mastery of her means; Jim Nutt’s inventiveness is almost dazzling and Jim Falconer’s work included a series of frenzied serigraphs; Suellen Rocca and Art Green have both expanded their themes and have greater control.

    But the work, fine as it was, was incorporated into a

  • “Picasso in Chicago”

    One of the most impressive shows of the season was the exhibition of “Picasso in Chicago” which was held at the Art Institute. Selected from private and public holdings it was a superb display of 183 paintings, drawings and prints. His sculpture, having been seen to advantage in the sculpture exhibition of last summer, was not included. The number of Picasso’s works in this city, and their overall quality, is singular.

    The direction taken by much of today’s art is in sharp contrast with that (or those) followed by Picasso. His considerable authority was evinced by the fact that so many artists

  • “Six Formalists”

    Two shows of local artists gave indication this spring of both the degree of activity and of the quality of work being done here. The group of artists known as PAC, which is an outgrowth of the old Phalanx group, has as its aim, exhibitions. A storefront on Halsted, like many of those used by painters for studio space, has been painted and lighted, and has become a cooperative gallery. The “Six Formalists” show was good in spite of the misleading title.

    Only the group of small paintings by John Cannon, in black and white, had any legitimate claim to the “Formalist” title. This young artist has

  • “Non Plussed Some”

    In keeping with a tendency that seems to have importance, locally at least, that an identity is conferred by the name of the group, five young artists showed at the Hyde Park Art Center under the lead, “Non Plussed Some.” Irrational and oblique, it defined their attitudes which included a distinct attraction to the commonplace and the banal, but treated with zest and imagination.

    Despite the title of the show there were considerable differences of personality displayed. Sarah Canright’s paintings in mellow greyed, almost clay-like colors, were segments, in some instances presented serially, of

  • Ted Halkin

    The Pro Grafica Gallery showed the drawings of Ted Halkin. It was a remarkable group of works characterized by sparkle and dash. This is said in the light of Halkin's earlier work, such as the relief paintings of the 1950s, which were figurative and illustrative of his own private world of mythology; the sculpture constructions were an outgrowth of the reliefs and then the abstract (although still highly evocative) laminated wood sculpture from the 1960s. His most recent works are a series of as yet unexhibited paintings of which here recent drawings from the last eight months are indicative.

  • Chicago

    For a large metropolitan area the size of Chicago there are too few opportunities for the local artists to exhibit their work and, as a consequence, little opportunity for the growth of a sizable audience. This situation, deplored on all sides and discussed with almost cyclic regularity, is the motivating factor behind a number of large exhibitions that have been mounted since the early ’50s. Since that time, when the group known as “Momentum,” composed of students and protesting artists, put on ambitious shows that were amazing in their scope and which were selected by a roster of distinguished

  • Chicago

    One of the artists who typifies a predilection here for the figurative rather than the abstract or the geometric is Dominick Di Meo. Since the early ’50s his work has been infused with both Expressionist and Surrealist tendencies. In the early work, the former, cast in a very personal manner, was dominant but Surrealist elements of fantasy and mystery were allowed full play in a series of relief paintings which came at the end of the ’50s. and the early ’60s. As in the reliefs of Halkin and the scumbling of Golub’s painting, the material itself was given an important role in the final result.