San Francisco

“Salon des Rejectees”

Green Gallery

Ellen Kernaghan, the gallery’s own­er, has issued both a five page mani­festo, in which she claims that “incom­petence, politics and corruption” in the art world went beyond the limits of tolerabiIity on the occasion of the Art lnstitute’s 82nd Annual, and an elab­orate statistical compilation apparently intended to substantiate her argument. Her complaints about the organization of the Annual and the thoroughness of the jurors, her accusations of favoritism (“based on factual evidence” which, however, remains undisclosed) should be discussed elsewhere, but the implication that her artists are non-conform­ists who refuse to “get ahead” by cater­ing to established tastes in art must be examined in the light of the exhibition now on view at her gallery. (In fairness, it should be pointed out that the artists themselves might not necessarily care to make such a claim.)

The works in the gallery are varied but none exhibits marked individualism; all have precedents in well established styles. Nor is their quality high enough to verify Miss Kernaghan’s accusations of favoritism on the part of the jurors who rejected them.

A few of the works have something to offer: an untitled abstract by Howard Foote with dramatic color and expres­sive shapes but somewhat static organ­ization; Ken Byler’s Desert Equinox, a surreal double image with gilt sky whose content remains obscure; Har­riet Frances’s upside-down lady, en­veloped in dull black, pleading “Love me” but done in (her atmosphere hope­lessly destroyed) by the intrusive white frame that surrounds her; an attractive calligraphic painting by Jacqueline White, (whose complaints about the Annual have received wide coverage in the press) spoiled by a meaningless sweeping curve which reaches into space from the upper right and moves back into the painting below.

The rest of the show is worse. Art Grant’s sculpture when it is bad is very, very bad; he shows a disorganized wire contraption called Sun Rocket. At least two paintings are totally with­out merit and one, a portrait of Erich von Stroheim by Mel Hanson, is atro­cious. None approaches the quality seen in the Annual. If Miss Kernaghan has a case, her own exhibition does nothing to substantiate it. 

Helen Giambruni