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PRINT April 1965

Beyond Vertigo: Optical Art at the Modern

IN AN OMNIBUS EXHIBITION called “The Responsive Eye,” the Museum of Modern Art has housed together in one amorphous (and hence relatively meaningless) category examples of nearly every kind of non-painterly painting done in the West since the war. (Also included were some glass, plastic and metal objects, descendants of Constructivist and neo-Plastic sculpture.) Within this category, which, I take it, was meant to be comprehensive but ultimately was only confusing, were: 1) works by the various European visual research groups (the Spanish Equipo 57, the German Group Zero, the French Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel, etc.); 2) purist painting, both American and European, by the legitimate heirs of the Bauhaus tradition; 3) post-painterly abstraction by painters whose roots are specifically in Abstract Expressionism. Works in the last two categories are art, and in the case of geometric

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