Palm Springs

Joseph Young

The Desert Museum shows the artist’s first retrospective exhibition. Included are examples of Young’s efforts in drawings, monotypes, sculpture-constructions, oils, mosaics, mural sketches and photo-enlargements of already executed architectural commissions. After reviewing these achievements in many fields it is rather surprising to find such an uneven collection of evidence in the museum. The photo-enlargements of architectural mosaics are undoubtedly the artist’s main concern. They are carefully conceived and are meticulously executed with considerable understanding of the medium. However, the mosaics installed in the gallery fall sadly short of these standards as do the oils which show little awareness of paint and canvas. The several wood sculpture-constructions are similarly ineffective and show little artistic integrity. Outstanding in the show is the model of the new Los Angeles County Hall of Records (1962). The bold concept exhibits more individual creativity than many of the rather conventional architectural mosaics. The artist has also included a number of highly sensitive ink drawings, mono-prints, and sketches for sculptures. If today’s artist becomes less a specialist, as Young apparently believes, and more a worker in all media he must at the same time be uncompromising in his standards of quality. The Young retrospective rather painfully points up this need.

George Baker