San Francisco

Mordecai Gorelik

University Art Gal­lery, U.C.

Four decades of designs for the theatre. This exhibition reveals the multi-faceted problems Gorelik encoun­tered in designing for the stage but it does not do justice to his artistic achievements. Its major failing is that it presents Gorelik primarily as a drafts­man rather than as a stage designer. In effect it focuses on his weakness in­stead of his strength, for his concepts rarely communicate theatrically (hence artistically) until they are realized on stage. The show actually faults its sub­ject twice over. Not only does it miss the point in establishing Gorelik’s real me­dium, it also fails to make his artistic purpose clear. Although most of his work has been for commercial produc­tions, he has been deeply concerned with the experimental “Epic” theatre. Yet only a few of his “Epic” designs are shown (e.g., The Annotated Hamlet, Volpone, A Hatful of Rain), and these are so meagerly represented that their differences from conventional stage form are not defined. Lacking a clear definition of its own purposes, this exhibition does not tell us enough about Gorelik’s position as an artist or as a contributor to modern theatrical usage.

Betty Breckin­ridge