Whitney Halstead

  • 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

  • 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,

  • 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.

  • Sculpture of Polynesia

    In conjunction with the Museum of Primitive Art, Allan Wardwell, Curator of Primitive Art at the Art Institute of Chicago organized an exhibition of the Sculpture of Polynesia.

    Although the exhibition was handsome it was limited and restricted by the subject matter. Certain significant examples were not included, e.g. some of the more exuberant carvings from New Zealand; indicative examples of Hawaiian material such as the war god and, for an exhibition devoted to a definitive survey of the subject, one of the stone heads from Easter Island that are now in museum collections would.have seemed

  • Henry Moore

    In December the University of Chicago dedicated the large Henry Moore sculpture, Nuclear Energy. Erected on the site of the first nuclear chain reaction the setting has yet to be completed and the interaction between the piece and its surroundings has yet to be determined. Although not overlarge in size (its 12-foot height being about one quarter that of the Picasso Head at the Civic Center) it is monumental in scale like so many of Moore’s works and appears to be a major sculpture in the artist’s oeuvre.

    Erecting sculptural monuments which are intended to commemorate historic events has become

  • Thomas Kapsalis

    Thomas Kapsalis showed what was almost a retrospective group of paintings at the Evanston Library during the month of December. Although some works were done (at least they were begun) a decade or more ago it must be conceded that no single date can be given to most of his paintings since they are often worked and reworked. This is typical of Kapsalis’s way of painting and the textures, and the surfaces, the colors and even the forms themselves do not remain stable but are “worried” into their present (not always finished) state. This may be an advantage in achieving his highly personal style

  • 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

    To open the exhibition season here the Hyde Park Art Center presented a show entitled simply “Wedge.” Contrasting with a long-standing local tendency toward the figurative, the show was emphatically abstract, oriented toward the minimal concept. The six artists included were Allan Boutin, John Brower, James Falconer, Robert Phillips, Dennis Subia and James Zanzi. Certainly the show was not programmatic and there was considerable personal variation within the theme. Brower’s painting with ladders was of interest in itself but it had little in common with the other works, and Phillips’s Light

  • 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

    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

    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

  • 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