reviews

  • “The Art of Assemblage”

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    William Seitz, one of the Museum of Modern Art’s perpetual category makers, has assembled a huge, lavishly catalogued exhibition, only part of which is shown here. Seitz’ purpose seems to be to relabel what is neo-dada as “assemblage.” Presumably his intentions are of the best and meant to rebut such pundits as Canaday and other odd characters such as Dr. Longman, Chairman of the U.C.L.A. Art Department, both of whom are considered as jokes by artists. Longman, in fact, is thought to be anti-art. The catalogue describes the objects as: 1. predominantly assembled rather than painted, drawn,

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  • Fredric Hobbs

    Fredric Hobbs Fine Art

    The triptych is overpowering in its emotional intensity, in its relation to death and to antiquity. We have not felt such stimulation since viewing the masters. Hobbs is essentially a colorist and other considerations are kept subordinate so that the colors are free to relate their message. Colors meant to bear connotational freight are emphasized in the chiaroscuro manner by underpainting and glazing. Such glazed color creates its own image. The central blues, for instance, connote ancient time. The glowing oranges carry a spiritual hope. Color is further used to explore the very deep space in

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  • “San Francisco Art Institute Art Bank Show”

    M. H. de Young Museum

    The total effect of this non-juried show was disappointing. But very likely your reviewer had the misconception that a giant wing-full of local contemporary art has to be a blockbuster, a real index of what’s going on in the area. In the large gallery we saw some excitement—paintings by Fred Reichman, Art Holman, Joel Barletta, Louis and Lundy Siegriest, Joseph Romano, Bruce Conner, John Saccaro—but elsewhere there were more yards of mediocrity than we like to think about. The Art Bank’s capital might well be bolstered: some of the bay area’s best don’t choose to join the institute and some of

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  • Wilfrid Zogbaum

    Dilexi Gallery

    Zogbaum’s sculpture transcends any attempt to categorize it. This is the innate, mysterious and unique quality of any good art. The perpetual efforts of art pundits to create pegs on which to hang their own pet theories artificially divides the indivisible; for great art is an experience which transcends categorization. That which has profound meaning on its own cannot be restated—thus the dilemma of art criticism. Zogbaum’s sculpture is a rare experience in contemporary art, not because of his technical virtuosity but the holistic* quality of his imagery.

    But, even technically, few contemporary

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  • “Rose Rabow Gallery Group”

    Rose Rabow Gallery

    An April visit to Rose Rabow’s Russian Hill living room. Fred Reichman: a wintry, low-keyed portrait of a tree, with a characteristic activation of negative space into something very positive. Also a mouse and branch painting in the inimitable Reichman cocoa. Julius Wasserstein: now to be with Dilexi, showing an action painting with a vigorous, semi-calligraphic whoosh which wants to expand beyond the limits of the frame. A long, thin hunk of color and movement—to that Procrustean frame. Just when Gordon Onslow-Ford seems to have caught himself in the web of his circles, lines and dots, and

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  • Angelo Ippolito, Harold Paris

    Bolles Gallery

    In the past year Ippolito has executed a large number of very striking abstract collages. These were an investigation into the creative act, directly worked, ripped, altered, over-pasted and torn —the image emerging immediately from the process, but continuously subjected to dissolution and re-creation at will. Executed in black and white with the ambiguous quality of the gray, blurred newsprint, they have an extraordinary sense of scale and presence. The paintings shown do not contain the same excitement or vibrancy, except perhaps Lenox Avenue, the largest of the lot. Harold Paris exhibits a

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  • Misch Kohn

    Palace of the Legion of Honor

    The Achenbach Foundation at the Legion of Honor is justly proud to exhibit Misch Kohn. Among modern printmakers no name is as eminent. It has even been said that he is one of the few contemporaries whose work approaches Rembrandt and Goya. But in the Rembrandt and Goya prints the eye is taken through a sublime series of tonal values while Kohn is limited to three: white, medium gray and jet black. The masters display drafting hands of perfect discipline—each line is purposeful and intended, while in Kohn’s Tiger, Sleeping Soldier and Bull Fight the principal reliance is on the wood grain, on

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  • “Hunters of the North”

    Lowie Museum of Anthropology, U.C. Berkeley

    This museum stores the largest and most important anthropological collection west of the Mississippi, over four hundred thousand items in all. It has no permanent display of its treasures, but concentrates on a series of revolving exhibitions with a theme, currently showing the artifacts and art of Alaskan Eskimos collected in the last quarter of the 19th century before the native ways of life disintegrated under the impact of Western civilization. One aspect of this exhibition poses a fascinating question: what factors influenced these people, without a written language, living in the timelessness

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  • Pat Tavenner, Lewis Carson

    Labaudt Gallery

    A very lively and amusing show, devoid of the cryptic or pretentious aspects likely to afflict an artistic language which pays its respects to dadaism. Perhaps this is because the visual elements work here, and any philosophic implications are up to the viewer. Superficially there isn’t much difference between Miss Tavenner and Mr. Carson. They seem to work as a team, with the lady leading the way with a driving imagination. There are at least two principal motifs in Miss Tavenner’s output. One is concerned with action paintings of figures which sit casually in the midst of, indeed are composed

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  • Fletcher Benton, Don Reich, Lundy Siegriest

    Gumps Gallery

    Fletcher Benton is coming into his own with the Big Landscape-paintings carved out of large framed areas, alternately flat on the surface and reaching deep into space. There’s meaning in his controlled splatter effects and a propulsive power in his big, rapid, semi-calligraphic gestures. The gleaming varnish is somewhat questionable as it gives an impression of streamlining. But time will tell. Benton’s mixture of action painting with still life works beautifully in some of his smaller canvases, although there seem to be a few kinks to be ironed out. Are some too crowded? Surely not that gem of

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  • Jean-Marie Calmettes

    Pomeroy Gallery

    A man of superb talents, displaying a strange contrast between style and content. In Kneeling Nude and Still Life with Blue Jar his principal constructional device is a blinding flood of white paint, surrounded by dimly defined forms in low keyed colors. So much white demands considerable daring and skill to bring off well and Calmettes deserves a great deal of credit doing it. He achieves a superb illumination from within. But here the daring stops. There seems to be an artistic timidity, a retreat from significant statement. This is generally characteristic of the School of Paris painters.

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  • Ron Bosc, Gerald A. Wasserman

    Edward Quill Gallery

    The Quill Gallery specializes in very young artists, a most interesting spot in which to find fresh talent. For example, there is Ron Bosc and his Red Lady. A very valid approach to the figure. Bosc’s control of tonal value and brushwork directs the viewer’s eye up, through the varying background and body shades, to the culmination at the yellow-green head. Bosc is but 20. Red Lady is a very significant work for one so young.

    Gerald A. Wasserman is another case in point. A midwesterner trained in Chicago, Wasserman is essentially linear in his stylings. His Mediterranean travels introduced the

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  • William Weber

    Gallery of Fine Art

    William Weber is a competent artist. His stark portraits of the Pensylvania Dutch have quiet authority, his pictures of jazz greats an affectionate quality. But the general tone of this show is commercial, with bits of social realism, surrealism, portraiture and modernity all trying to get into the act. His Floating Nude smacks of the calendar, and we hope he wasn’t serious about Nativity, a corny helping of pseudo-Andrew Wyeth which tells a tale of illegitimate birth among the leather jacket set. Better to leave this show with the memory of Birds, a fairly strong, semi-abstract statement, or

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  • Keith Boyle

    Triangle Gallery

    Boyle constructs and textures with plastic roofing tar which is then painted and glazed, producing warm, low-keyed colors. Pleasant landscapes within the abstract expressionist idiom. Ravello, seems Italian, probably the best in the show. Manchester, an explosive reaction to an industrial city. Off Shore, a Grecian landscape against a blue sea. All show fine color and a confidently controlled brush. Boyle is the best of the regulars at the Triangle, a new gallery with excellent ambitions but, for the most part, immature artists.

    Robert Olmsted

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  • Henri Matisse

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    This much heralded, and, lavishly catalogued exhibition of large gouaches created by Henri Matisse between his eightieth and eighty-third year, sentiment and nostalgia apart, leave one strangely unmoved, especially by comparison to his 1905 masterpiece. Woman with a Hat, exhibited in the adjoining Stein collection. It is the works of this earlier Fauvre period that insures Matisse of his place as one of the most important contributors to 20th Century art.

    John Coplans

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  • Jarvis Rockwell, Bruce Conner

    Batman Gallery

    The Batman, San Francisco’s principal voice of Neo-Dadaism, has recently reopened under new management. Very little is changed; the walls still black, perhaps the worst color of all to enhance art works. The drawings of Rockwell and Conner, on the other hand, are very choice indeed. Both derive from surrealism. Rockwell is a master of minute detail within an overall plan. He does the cityscape which at first glance seems entirely normal and ordinary. On closer examination the city is rotten to the core. The attack on the metropolis is, by indirection, an exaltation of the individual. Conner

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  • “Reproductions of Rembrandt Drawings”

    Old Firehouse Gallery, U. C. Berkeley

    A large exhibition of collotypes of Rembrandt drawings which are claimed to be exact reproductions of the originals. Rembrandt never intended these drawings either to be shown or valued as works of art. What makes them have particular interest is that they deal with one of the most crucial goals of the artists of our time—the necessity to break down the time barrier between thought and action. The drawings are a record of how Rembrandt was able to see, feel and respond in a direct, immediate and spontaneous way. It is an ironic thought that if he had realized that they were to be valued as

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  • Dick Hornaday

    Ruthermore

    Dick Hornaday is beginning to attain the full expressiveness of his subject matter—a single planed faceless crowd on a background plane. He uses the heads to throw a net of directional lines across the canvas, striving for a linear style which seems allied to the German expressionists. He exhibits not so much the German linearity, however, as a seemingly similar viewpoint on life. Hornaday, who took degrees at Iowa and Chicago, seems to share an emotional reserve and pessimism with other recent Iowans. It seems a matter of closeness to the soil, of practicality and of solidarity with the

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  • Julius Schmidt

    Worth Ryder Gallery, U. C. Berkeley

    Exhibits four drawings and fourteen iron castings. Schmidt makes an issue of his craftsmanship, rather than his art. Onto simple, but elegant shapes go columns, heads and shields. He creates richly decorative surfaces by working directly on his casting core. The subsequent forms are cast into iron, this pedestrian material becoming strangely beautiful in his skilled hands. His art seems to be that of isolating and recreating for the viewer the intense nostalgia of time worn surfaces.

    John Coplans

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  • “Prints, The Californians 1962”

    Eric Locke Gallery

    Printmaking today offers a refuge for those artists who do not want to face the challenge of the central problems of art. The terrific mystique, signed editions, proofs, hand made papers and the Print Council of America, attempting to define what is, or is not, an original print, serve to blur the distinction between art and technique. Rico Lebrun’s print seems typical of the resulting confusion. From the point of view of art, why not just make drawings? But Shapiro, with his aggressive black and white images, stands out amongst the remaining top-drawer handlers of the technique.

    John Coplans

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  • Jose Ramon Lerma

    Green Gallery

    One of the bay area’s more promising artists, now attaining a thoroughly valid and individual style. He maintains the abstract expressionist idiom but is turning more and more to the religious image, as in “Sacred Heart” and “First Crucifixion.” Lerma also shows a more painterly confidence than in the past. The colors have a richer glow, attained by an exceptionally thick and well worked surface.

    Robert Olmsted

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  • June Felter

    Lloyd Clark, Oakland

    Figures and still life in the New-figurative manner. Vivid colors, flung about in wild abandon. As is generally true of the New Figurative painters, Felter turns to the Post Impressionists for subject matter, particularly to Bonnard. But the current presentation of the human figure and the handling of interior space suffer greatly in this obvious comparison.

    Robert Olmsted

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  • Robert Moesle

    Horse’s Mouth, Saratoga

    Strong Expressionistic stuff of pronounced individual mood—including figures flying through space, or hanging onto a rope for dear life; a couple of horsemen coming out of a glowing, mysterious sunset; and a stern Inquisitional type. To give a frame of reference, Moesle’s work sometimes reminds of the more serious side of Bruce Conner. From San Jose via a trip to England, Moesle is a fellow to watch. Especially since he really knows how to draw.

    Arthur Bloomfield

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  • John Rood

    Feingarten

    Exhibits a number of tachiste sculptures made by investigating new processes. With unusual technical skill he creates forms comparable to those found in ocean grottoes, reminiscent of clusters of weird sea weed, and eroded coral formations. Finally Art beats Nature!

    John Coplans

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  • William Lang

    Ed Lesser Gallery

    Mysticism with stylistic precision and relentless delight in small detail. A male clown and a dancer dressed in tutu work ratlike puppets on a clock face. I confess I don’t know what Lang is driving at but his individualism is admirable in this day of artistic eclecticism and pastiche.

    Robert Olmsted

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  • Jean Halpert-Ryden

    Art Unlimited

    Pedestrian paintings of a European journey. The great and mysterious discoveries in art since the turn are bypassed except for a barely imperceptible nod that cubism once happened.

    John Coplans

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  • S. C. Yuan, Sutter Marin and Nicoud

    Artist’s Cooperative

    Three painters showing recent work. Yuan is a craftsman who paints portraits, abstracts, the sea, landscape, and ships. Sutter Marin paints whimsical dreams and Nicoud paints weak derivations from Renoir.

    John Coplans

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  • Maggie Hazell

    New Image

    Large abstract landscapes. San Francisco bay paintings are best, displaying good color sense. Decorative.

    Robert Olmsted

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  • Akahshi Ooe

    Golden Gateway

    A single, superb red relief painting, employing subtle tones and rock-like forms reflecting Japanese tradition. Makes us want to see more.

    Robert Olmsted

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