COLUMNS

  • Pat Hearn

    THE PAT HEARN GALLERY on East Ninth Street and Avenue D faced a wide-open field. The concrete ruins of demolished tenements poked through tall shaggy grasses. Occasionally a dazed junkie, still swooning from a recent fix, would wander up the deserted block. Inside, the gallery blazed with sunlight. There stood Pat, high spiked pumps, high beehive hair, little print frock, talking about the art on the wall. In this case, it was Peter Schuyff’s uncanny biomorphic Op paintings. Milan Kunc showed there too, and his Eastern European Pop art fit the exotic drift. Then there was Mitchell Algus, a

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  • Paul Cadmus

    MERCILESS CARICATURIST, gruesome fantasist, homoerotic moralist, and above all maker of wonderfully crafted drawings and paintings: Paul Cadmus worked in many modes throughout his life and created so many surprising and often disturbing varieties of art that even those most passionate about his work are seldom unequivocal in their assessments. About Cadmus him-self, however, all agree: This enormously talented artist was also the kindest, gentlest, most self-deprecating of men.

    A scholarship student at the National Academy of Design, Cadmus became a printmaker, following in the steps of the Ashcan

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  • Martin Wong

    WHEN MARTIN WONG DIED at his parents’ San Francisco residence this past August, five years after moving back home to a cocktail of AIDS medications, Chinese herbs, and mother’s love, word of his passing spread through the diverse community of all who knew him with all the grief, startled silence, and spontaneous reminiscences awarded the best of our fallen heroes. Certainly there was an immediate collective sense of how much had been lost. Perhaps more elusive was an understanding of what it was that had touched so many in such radically different ways. The curious reality is that there wasn’t

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  • Richard Martin

    BEFORE RICHARD MARTIN, exhibitions devoted to fashion tended to be characterized by dull antiquarianism or superficial glitz. By treating the way we dress as a living art, Richard changed everything. In scores of exhibitions and books and more than 100 scholarly articles, he examined fashion through the lens of contemporary art. It was not merely that he traced connections between clothing styles and art movements, still less that he idolized designers as creative “geniuses”; rather, he asked the kinds of serious questions of fashion that had seldom been applied to the supposedly frivolous

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  • the editor's note

    I didn’t know Richard Martin well, but then I suspect not well is exactly the way he preferred being known. My first inkling of this came in 1984, when (on John Yau’s recommendation) Richard gave me the go-ahead to write my first piece of criticism for Arts Magazine, where he had been editor since 1974. Having turned in my copy, I anxiously awaited his judgment. I kept expecting to hear what needed more work, what should be cut, and so on. Nothing. After a while I started to get worried, so I called the Arts office. Richard wasn’t in. Next day, the same thing. The third day, the voice on the

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  • Eye of the Storm

    IN MY MIND’S EYE are hurried comings and goings. People in full stride under the shadow of tall buildings, the monumental immobility of which measures the figures’ relative stature and speed. One by one they set their course, converging like tributary currents into great pedestrian waves that break on other pedestrian waves at crosswalks and street corners. Unseen in this steady flow of brisk bodies and thrusting ankles is a slight, stationary figure. He watches, the bemused, faintly melancholy look on his face occasionally relieved by a broad sweet smile. Otherwise he is all attention as he

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  • Patrick Heron

    ACTIVE AS A PAINTER FOR BETTER than sixty years, as a writer on art for more than fifty, and as a campaigner on art education and landscape conservation for thirty, Patrick Heron never lost his passion, his innocence, or his idealism. That was what made any encounter with Patrick, his paintings, or his words a life-enhancing experience. Whether he was working for the preservation of the independent art schools in Britain or against the removal of field boundaries in West Penwith, his early-modernist sense of the need to adopt a firm moral position, whether aesthetic or political, gave his many

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  • Raghubir Singh, 1942–1999

    Raghubir Singh, who died in April, was the most widely published of all photographers of India. Born and raised in Jaipur, Rajasthan, he eschewed the tradition of black-and-white photography in his thirteen books of images of India: Indeed, he considered color to be intrinsic to the culture of the subcontinent. As he wrote in his final collection, Rivers of Color, which shares its title with his recent Art Institute of Chicago retrospective, color is the “fountain of the continuum of life” in India.

    Singh, who was a lecturer at New York’s School of the Visual Arts at the time of his death, was

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  • Harry Callahan, 1912–1999

    Harry Callahan, who died in March at eighty-six, created a unique body of work that wedded his own vision of photographic modernism to deeply personal concerns. He was central to the Chicago school of photography at IIT’s Institute of Design, where he taught from 1946 to 1961, although he himself had studied only in Detroit camera clubs. Experimentation was as important to Callahan as to László Moholy-Nagy. He called it “photographic seeing,” which he explored through techniques including the use of multiple exposure, camera movement, light studies, and variations in focus. Despite the technical

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  • Nelson Goodman

    NELSON GOODMAN’S WORK touched on so many fields—philosophy, of course, but also the arts, the sciences, and psychology—that it is difficult for anyone to appreciate, much less summarize, what it has all meant for us, or even to specify the “us” that will continue to have some stake in his work. More appreciated in Europe than America, invoked as an authority in fields from cognitive science to artificial intelligence to art criticism to analytic philosophy, Goodman has had a massive yet unobtrusive influence on contemporary thinking in a wide variety of disciplines. He never achieved the kind

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  • Norman Bluhm

    NORMAN BLUHM WAS AN EXTREME example of the many Americans, mostly World War II veterans, who went to Italy and France after the war to learn about art history and in doing so simultaneously taught the typically despairing and poverty-stricken European artist something about American energy, expansiveness, and optimism. Like Sam Francis and Joan Mitchell, Bluhm was one of the most powerful so-called second-generation Abstract Expressionists (more accurately second-decade) and, also like them, among the few who remained consistently faithful to this aesthetic.

    After four years as a bomber pilot—a

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  • Jean-François Lyotard

    THE PARADOXICAL TITLE GIVEN to Jean-Francois Lyotard’s Artforum essay of 1982, “presenting the unpresentable,” might retrospectively name an art and an ethic peculiar to this philosopher/critic/aesthetician who died of complications from leukemia in April at the age of seventy-three; it might characterize a long philosophical activity, without method or doctrine, carried on in many places and in many ways. For his was a singular intelligence—mobile, generous, light—that had navigated all the debates and divisions of his time. He was a man of “peregrinations” (as he called them), through many

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