San Francisco

“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 the big names seem to have dropped from the ranks. What was especially worrisome was the sterile, earthbound imitating of someone else’s inspiration, the pallid exercising in angle-bound abstraction and hopefully soaring landscape—which didn’t. An awful thought came to us: an Art Institute show can,

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