reviews

  • Bruce Conner

    Ferus Gallery

    Suspended between the surreal and the erotic, the assemblages of Bruce Conner are in the style we. have come to associate with him for some time now. Whether bitter, tinged with pathos, or of a rococo mood, all of the pieces deal in one way or another with the decay of life. However effective the assemblages may be to a limited audience, the artist does run the risk of redundancy in both theme and material. Decay can in itself decay, and one wonders what would become of the art of that decay should Conner ever desert the dusty attic and the broken chest in which he finds the tattered fabrics,

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  • Kurt Schwitters

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    The position of Kurt Schwitters in the evolution of the art of collage and its relation to the Dada movement has been confused both in his own time and by the many artists today who, consciously or unconsciously, do homage to him. For since Schwitters was a part of, and at the same time distinct from, the many revolutionary movements of his time, his art has various overtones of meaning. Much is clarified with the opportunity to see a comprehensive exhibition of his works, the first to be made available to the Western United States. To the major retrospective exhibition selection by the Museum

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  • Reuben Nakian

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    The Herculean sculpture of Nakian is formidable in concept, enterprise, daring, and innovation. This large exhibition, sponsored by the Contemporary Arts Council, is comprised of some 50 works in varied mediums. Among the many examples included here are the Museum of Modern Art’s well known “Rape of Lucrece” and other welded structures, plus an assortment of bronzes, terracottas and drawings. In an exhibition of tremendous power, the remarkably monumental “Rape” and “The Duchess of Alba,” constructed from steel shields and pipes, stand out as two of the most impressive contemporary works of art

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  • Tenth All City Art Festival

    Barnsdall Art Park / LA Municipal Gallery

    As a city-organized art event, playing host to some 2,000 entrants, with handsome prize money ($6,000, donated by Home Savings and Loan), open to all who submit, the show at Barnsdall is unique, now that the County Museum has abandoned the Annual Exhibition of Artists of L. A. and vicinity. Such an exhibition should be a vigorous cross-section of current work in the area. It is not. Why it is not prompts some questioning and reflection. The jury, Sergei Bongart, Richard Haines, Sueo Serisawa, is a respectable company, certainly, chosen to represent different points of view. Some confusion about

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  • “Homage to Georges Braque”

    Edgardo Acosta Gallery

    This modest tribute to one of the giants of 20th century art on the occasion of his 80th birthday has, like the recent Picasso show at UCLA, been assembled largely from local collections. The exhibition will travel to the Santa Barbara Art Museum during July and August. A handful of key paintings dated 1938-43, plus some two dozen lithographs, provide an exhilarating reminder of Braque’s intuitive genius. “I am not a revolutionary painter,” Braque says, “I do not seek exaltation, fervor is sufficient for me.” Fervor, restraint of the most sensitive sort, the epitome of inspired taste, and candid

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  • Louise Nevelson

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    The content of Miss Nevelson’s golden temples, constructed of odd, discarded wooden ends, table-legs, egg crates and bowling pins, easily and gracefully transcend the materials of their creation. No mere decorative Neo-Dada facade, these strange bits of scrap she assembles so articulately are in fact indigenous to the architecture of her constructions. They are shrines, reliquaries, archaic caskets and fragmented votive reliefs which pay homage to alchemists and sorcerers of another epoch. Each section, or box, of the total, is harmoniously self-sufficient, and, like some bizarre Oriental Game

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  • Charles Frazier

    Everett Ellin Gallery

    The unusual imagery of Charles Frazier has, particularly in his most recent bronzes, evolved into an unique fusion of idea and material that goes beyond the art of assemblage to which it technically belongs. Couched in terms of childhood fantasy, his statements are direct, lucid and often powerful. Sometimes prophetic, sometimes poetic, sometimes merely fanciful, he is not afraid of running the risk of sentimentality yet remains within the limits of sentiment. Here, as with Chagall (although otherwise there is little similarity to be drawn) his imagery has the vitality of the uninhibited and

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  • Charles Garabedian, Roberto Chavez, Edward Carrillo and Louis L. Lunetta

    Ceeje Gallery

    Who is the ghoul with the illuminated head under the table with the skull, the mirror and the cross? Why is a reclining nude raising her right arm in benediction? What do the headless dummies represent? Who is “Tommy the Episcopalian?” Why is the man in the top hat crawling out of a manhole with a pingpong racquet? Who are the Tokyo Joes; the odd Christ figures; the ladies in shower caps smoking cigars; the missionaries with space helmets? What is the significance of the old G.I. shoe prominently placed in a quartet portrait? Whose idea was the painting on the knife and the “Peanuts” comic strip

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  • Lionel Gongora

    Ryder Gallery

    This Mexican interprets the timeless conflicts of man and woman in a non-compromising style as bitter as Grosz and as penetrating as Posada. His pencil, pen and ink and wash drawings cut through all social niceties in rendering protagonists of good and evil, love and hate, dour contentment and deep-welled guilt. Gongora’s lusty female is a mother, baby, lover and slut; his male is a warrior, a lost child and a jealous lover. This is not a pretty world but it has its roots in reality and is a profoundly moving graphic experience for the viewer.

    —Arthur Secunda

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  • Max Bailey

    Heritage Gallery

    The clean, somber stillness of the sea is evoked by Bailey via hard-edged, simplified forms. Understated mysticism broods poetically in his solid, rich, silky, flat blacks as well as the rest of his generally restrained and eloquent palette. For Bailey, the beach is an environment in which to carefully place pebbles and contemplate the variety and significance of the few basic forms indigenous to its surroundings.

    —Arthur Secunda

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  • Lovis Corinth

    Sabersky Gallery

    It is a real treat to see the 35 etchings, lithographs and drawings by this important German Impressionist, member of the Berlin Secession group. The range is broad, from an early, formal etching Nude (1893) and work based on mythological subjects, through the graphic humor of the period seen in the “ABC” lithographs, to the dappled Beech Forest (1922). The self-portraits are revealing and should be compared with his paintings of 1919–1923. His graphics, like his paintings, reflect his interest in mass shaped by shadow and light-mottled surfaces; his etching Badeanstalt (1919) is a gem. Collectors

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  • Collage-Artists in California

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    The exhibition, organized by Walter Hopps in conjunction with the Kurt Schwitters retrospective, features the work of three widely disparate artists. A fourth wall of the gallery is devoted to some fifty-two examples of collage, providing one defines that term in its broadest sense. Of the three given special prominence in the show, William Dole from the University of California at Santa Barbara is the closest to the aesthetics of Schwitters. His highly refined and subtly restrained compositions employ the carefully selected papers, the bits borrowed from typography and the fragments of the

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  • The Figure: New York

    Felix Landau Gallery

    Seeing the work of such notables as Avery, Beauchamp, Elaine deKooning, DeNiro, Goodnough, Katz, Reginald Pollack, Fairfield Porter and Jane Wiison (among others) assembled in such a stately ideological ensemble is more confusing than elucidating. Most have little in common with each other despite the supposed togetherness of depicting figures. This show was a grand mistake for New York and Landau, and simply points up a bad selection, or the improbable fact that this is truly representative of good Eastern figurative painting. One cannot help but wonder how many better figure painters we have

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  • Harold Frank

    Ankrum Gallery

    Frank executes his attractive abstractions with extravagant gestures; the paintings are of rich blues and varied greens that seem almost too rich for the size of the canvas. His finesse and delicacy evoke a romantic allusion which, in general, is both mysterious and poetic.

    —Jules Engel

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  • Harry Nadler

    Dwan Gallery

    Nadler’s sometimes-tachist, sometimes-Lebrunesque, sometimes-Gorkyesque, sometimes-black and white, sometimes-pastelish colored oils, are evidently interim experiments while the artist tries to get squarely seated into an esthetic more strictly compatible with what he might have to say. The exhibition as a whole displays a schizophrenic confusion, as if, perhaps, Nadler is too closely involved with artists’ styles he admires rather than what he himself has to decide and then do. As a technical interpreter of formal drama, a stage-setter, he is extraordinarily skilled and cannot be dismissed

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  • Gordon Wagner

    Silvan Simone Gallery

    Very engaging, full of humor, impressively composed, with sensitive insistence on form and color. They have nothing to do with the “trash-can” school which uses the detritus of a culture to mock it. Wagner’s interest in the “found object” is poetic, human. The gallery also shows selected works by the other artists it represents. Most important of these, surely, is Jose Luis Cuevas. The influence of Goya is obvious; his drawings have the profundity and originality to merit such a noble parentage.

    —Joan Hugo

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  • Harumi Tanaguchi, Joe Barrett, Geno Pettit, Ray Barro, Guy Maccoy, Dean Bloodgood, Peter Krohn, Don Totten, Bob Brawley and Robert Donley

    Paul Plummer Gallery

    Featuring the work of Harumi Tanaguchi, Joe Barrett, Geno Pettit, Ray Barro, Guy Maccoy, Dean Bloodgood, Peter Krohn, Don Totten, Bob Brawley and Robert Donley, this large, not particularly distinguished group exhibition is made up mostly of mediocre works except for Brawley’s evocative cubist landscape, Barrett’s murky graphic figures, and Bloodgood’s View from the Back Door, the latter being an outstanding painting on any terms. Using the subtle street colors of late afternoon, Bloodgood depicts a cloudy sky of warm greys filtering down onto a sharp, deep urban scene in violent perspective.

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  • Ruth Codman, Ruth Erlich, Ray Friesz, James McMenamin, Robert Alan Smith and Albert Wein

    Michael Thomas Gallery

    Ruth Codman, Ruth Erlich, Ray Friesz, James McMenamin and Robert Alan Smith, along with sculptures by Albert Wein. Ruth Erlich’s meaningless black drip line over splotchy shape and color and Ray Friesz’s splattered end papers contribute nothing. James McMenamin does not seem to have resolved the problems of form he has set himself. Ruth Codman’s paintings of nature are successful within the limits she sets herself; the paintings of children much less so (those faces!) and her post-Impressionist color is not bad. Certainly the only real painter here, however, is Robert Alan Smith. Simple forms

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  • Simon Rodia

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    This extensive photographic survey, sponsored by the Committee for Simon Rodia’s Towers and the Contemporary Arts Council of the County Museum, is comprised of superb documents of one of the most unusual artistic achievements in American history. Photographer Seymour Rosen is responsible for most of the scores of excellent pictures on display. The entire presentation is a delight, and considerably extends one’s experience in understanding Sam Rodia’s fantastic masterpiece. A catalog, published by the museum, contains many excellent black and white color reproductions and a lengthy descriptive

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  • Moissey Kogan

    Ernest Raboff Gallery

    Moissey Kogan died in a German concentration camp in 1942 at 63. An attempt was made to erase all traces of his life and work. One can destroy the man, but not the memory of him; one can destroy the record of his life, but if one fragile work remains it becomes eloquent testament to man’s timeless dialogue with life. His small, graceful, Archaic bronzes and almost hesitant drawings endure, immortal, serene, poised forever in a moment of Arcadian peace.

    —Joan Hugo

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  • Otto Schneid

    Toporow Gallery

    In his first Los Angeles one-man show, Schneid’s large group of paintings depict landscapes and figures woven into a symbolic imagery; the figures are of a troubled world, straining for totemism and personal meaning.

    —Jules Engel

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  • Mary Ewalt

    Galerie deVille

    Miss Ewalt’s paintings are a bizarre slice of Victoriana concerning themselves with incongruous, unpretentious, make-believe, inconsequential, genre subjects. But in the process of “expressing design,” she throws all of the care and love and mushy sentimentality of the primitive into one hearty, decorative pot, and pulls out artful, tapestry-like, Moorish, flamboyant, romantic results.

    —Arthur Secunda

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  • Arthur Okamura, Douglas Snow, Mintz and Carl Morris

    Feingarten Galleries

    Highlighting a most satisfying group show is a large oil by Arthur Okamura entitled Waterfall. Without actually representing landscapes, his shapes make pictorial suggestions which represent nature nostalgically. Mintz’s tasteful, loosely painted oil entitled Buzzing, is calligraphic in its delicacy, while Douglas Snow offers abstractions consisting of heavy linear images. Carl Morris’ paintings have an air of distinction, getting much of their poetic quality from stitched, staccato brush-strokes.

    —Jules Engel

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  • Edward Biberman, Fritz Faiss, Ted Gilien, Eric Ray, Taro Yashima, Mischa Kallis, Perli Pelzig, Albert Wein, Joseph Young, and Maurice Ascalon

    Gallery 333

    This small, new gallery is showing the works of Edward Biberman, Fritz Faiss, Ted Gilien, Eric Ray, Taro Yashima, Mischa Kallis, Perli Pelzig, Albert Wein, Joseph Young, and Maurice Ascalon. These last five will be Artists-in-Residence at Brandeis during the summer. Most interesting were Fritz Faiss’ Klee-like interior imagery, Eric Ray’s drawings and work by Perli Pelzig. The gallery also plans to show crafts.

    —Joan Hugo

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  • Howard Cook and Paul Dyck

    Raymond Burr Galleries

    Cook’s stark post-cubist oils and pastels stand out in this show as some of the best works seen at the Burr Galleries since its opening. His cityscapes and studies of the U.S. Southwest have the authoritative stamp of a man who is as intimate with the earth as he is with the rectangular look of a haphazardly planned city. His mountain scenes are full of that peculiar white, hot, contrasting light that emanates from somewhere below the horizon, and his vast panoramas are multiplications of formal units that are expansive on the one hand, yet tightly-knit on the other. Paul Dyck’s sumi paintings

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  • George Gaal

    Cowie Gallery

    Hungarian-born French artist Gaal’s small canvases are enlivened by luminous spots, or passages, of color. Most of the paintings are on the ornamental side, making this show a fascinating demonstration of decorative technique.

    —Jules Engel

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  • John Singer Sargent, Paul Delvaux, Victor Brauner, William Dole and Thomas Cornell

    Rex Evans Gallery

    Recent acquisitions include several handsome John Singer Sargent watercolors, including the sensuous Salmon, which reaffirms the stature of this artist who is being newly evaluated now. The rest of the exhibition, featuring works by Paul Delvaux, Victor Brauner, William Dole, Thomas Cornell, and others, is uneven, and consistent only in its lack of homogeneity, despite not a few offerings of more than average interest.

    —Arthur Secunda

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  • Janel Lessing

    Ankrum Gallery

    Children of twelve have boundless imaginations and prodigious talents. Such a child is Janel Lessing. Her hand and eye are quick and facile. But at this point her talent is imitative. Bemelmans, Provensen—the illustrators of children’s books seem to be her sources. and she is able to copy them admirably. The Calder-like fantasy drawings are very good. She draws skillfully and balances shapes artfully, but if she is not soon exposed to flowers and snails and starfish and moved to draw them too, she will remain an illustrator.

    —Joan Hugo

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