Josef Albers

Worth Ryder Art Gallery

The Albers show at the University is actually part of a publicity scheme on the part of Yale University Press to promote its exorbitantly-priced book on color theory by Albers. (No one needs to spend $200 (plus tax) for a treatise on color theory. What Yale Press actually seems to be trying to sell is an enormous portable collection of Albers’ work.) However, it is a convenient way to acquire a rather good Albers show. The exhibit is made up of paintings and plates from the book, some of which were seen in a show at the San Francisco Museum. If this exhibition is any indication, much of Albers recent work is disturbingly weak. In more than a few paintings the colors actually go dead. Nevertheless, there are enough good paintings and a few truly beautiful ones to raise the disturbing question as to how a man can work almost by rote and yet turn out paintings that seem to have the esthetic attributes and ethical requirements of ordered form that constitutes art.

Joanna C. Magloff