Los Angeles

“Drawings by Sculptors”

University of California

What at first seems to be a temptingly revealing sort of exhibition, judging from the title and some of the names on the roster (Armitage, Arp, Baskin, Bertoia, Calder, DeCreeft, Ferber, Gabo, Giacometti, Hadzi, Hepworth, Lassaw, Lipchitz, Marini, Mirko, Moore, Nevelson, Roszak, Smith, Turnbull, Zorach and others), turns out to be a rather fuzzy, incoherent and inarticulate exhibition of disappointingly average quality. More than half of its over 75 drawings appear to be token acknowledgments rather than dynamic statements of high caliber or even of technical “working-drawing” interest. What is revealed is the unsurprising fact that most sculptors think in terms of light and dark when drawing. Thus, with the exception of Marino Marini, color is not a part of their formal make-up. When it is applied, it is a variation of chiaroscuro. Fortunately, the show is saved by the enrichment of a series of drawings by German Expressionist Gerhardt Marcks, loaned by Paul Friedlander of UCLA. These poetic pencil studies are simple, understated, sensitively felt, and free as only discipline can make one free.

With perhaps a dozen exceptions, much of the work shown is inferior and, hopefully, not representative of the best work in this medium by these sculptors. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of insight to be gained from the contributions of such artists as Cesar, whose unexpected non-objective pen and ink cross-hatching recalls Beardsley, Bertoia, with his sensuous single-imagery, Arp, whose wandering line is like a magnificent Oriental puzzle, Lipchitz, who is represented here by a tension-filled ink drawing (rendering line as if it were as malleable as clay), Martinelli, whose Guardians of the Gates of Hell is a modern Dureresque fantasy, Hadzi, with his poignant Surrealistic shapes, Moore, as consistently effective as ever, with a typical and classical watercolor-and-chalk drawing entitled Seated Figures, and Paolozzi, whose grotesque monster-figure is born of a machine mother. Notoriously bad showings are made by Hepworth, Higuily, Calvin Albert, L. Bourgeous and Zajac. The exhibition, excluding the marvelous Friedlander Collection, is being circulated by the Smithsonian Institution.

Arthur Secunda