reviews

  • Jasper Johns

    Pasadena Art Museum

    This is the fourth in a series of major Johns retrospectives organized during the past year in New York, at the Venice Bienalle, in London and finally at Pasadena. Each of these shows differed slightly as a result of the difficulties in arranging for the loan of paintings over such an extended period of time.

    The present exhibition, though a bit smaller than the first (and largest) at New York’s Jewish Museum, contains major examples from every series of Johns’ work, and includes a number of major pictures not seen in New York. The most interesting of these are the earliest existing Johns, “

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  • Cézanne, Seurat, Signac, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Moreau, Redon, Ensor, Picasso, Serusier, Jarry, Bonnard, Vuillard, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Kandinsky, Klee, Jawlensky and Kokoschka

    UCLA Art Galleries

    The fin de siecle period and the years preceding World War I have become a myth-ridden time of heresiarchs for us now. The quickened sense of experimentation and the various conjugations of stylistic originality in those decades remind one a bit of our own age, though catastrophic world events and the development of a nouveau-riche, art-adoring public have succeeded in antiquing the early heroic vision of the role of art and the artist’s life that accompanied the pre-Great War movements. In retrospect, “la belle époque,” for all its romantic and anarchic posturings, its Pateresque self-awarenesses,

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  • Forms and Faces of Primitive Sculpture

    Franklin Gallery

    Harry A. Franklin has mounted an exhibition of primitive sculpture of such excellence as to be nearly without equal in commercial gallery circles and rivals many museum efforts. It is first of all composed of only the finest examples and secondly the range of material is both impressive and illuminating. Drawn from pre-eminent and obscure primitive cultures around the globe, the ancestor figures, totems, dance masks, fetishes, house lintels, etc., emphasize the vast inventiveness of the unsophisticated intellect when describing the human face. Prescribed by traditions, predicated by environmental

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  • John Altoon

    David Stuart Gallery

    Since 1956 Altoon has been primarily involved with gestural art. His work has vacillated between action painting and a kind of virtuoso, intuitive draftsmanship involving either the figure or abstract shapes. From about 1959 an image composed of configurations of biomorphic and animal-like shapes that animated a white, unpainted ground began to appear. This image, always executed at high speed, uses gay pastel colors and black line, and forms the main body of his work since. During the past two years Altoon has virtually stopped painting on canvas, a medium unsuited to his need for speed and

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  • Gerald Laing

    Feigen-Palmer Gallery

    A young English artist now living in New York, Laing showed two of his silver, flame and dotted astronaut canvases earlier this year in the New British Painting group at the same gallery. In this one-man show, his interests seem slightly broader—including automobile racers, sky divers, bikini girls, and Jean Harlow—but they still grow primarily out of an untainted American Pop mythology in which thrill sports and the silver screen remain wide-open innocence without a seamy underside. His techniques, however, relate less to Pop and more explicitly to the formal devices of hard-edge and optical

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  • Louis I. Kahn

    Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego | La Jolla

    By means of sketches, plans, models, and photos of nineteen projects over the last dozen years, the intent is, in the words of Director Brewer, “to reveal the art of perhaps America’s most significant architect to a Western audience.”

    Kahn’s office complexes (Richards Medical Research Building, Philadelphia; U.S. Consulate, Luanda, Angola, Africa; and Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla) deal with the vocabulary of fairly conventional modernity. Stressed with particular conscientiousness are considerations for the site, light, and temperature. Large extended screens or light shafts,

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  • Donald Lagerberg

    Jenet Gallery

    Death, illusion, and paradox are themes of Donald Lagerberg’s art. Commonly such subjects are gaseous generalities barely disguising an artist’s endeavor to unnerve us. Such is not apparently the case in this artist’s first one-man exhibition. Lagerberg is a craftsman, an eclectic, and an intellectual. His terms are as concrete as are the terms of his admirations; Spanish mannerism, Northern baroque, Francis Bacon. His facets are unified by his emotional preoccupations.

    Death is amply demonstrated in a memento mori after Hals’ “The Laughing Cavalier”; the insouciant mask of the face literally

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  • Containers

    Otis College of Art and Design

    With the exhibit “Containers” at the Otis Art Institute came the opportunity to see assembled an array of baskets, bottles, boxes, and bowls which was most stimulating. Typical examples of these from ancient and modern civilizations were on view. A gathering of one class of items is a service that punctuates the definition of that object and also brings to light its particular meaning to each individual. Containers reach over the ages, reflect terrain, cultural modes, religious beliefs, levels of technological advance, man’s need to store and predilection to save.

    Excellently presented, the

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  • Jan Stussy

    Esther Robles Gallery

    Stussy’s catalog statement is appropriately modest. He characterizes himself as unsure and searching. Nothing of this shows in his work. It is assured, mature and powerful. This UCLA professor, like many teacher-artists, occasionally appears academic. Possibly it is his awareness of this that has led him to emphasize drawing techniques such as cross-contour or pattern-to-shape, employing them as elegant, over-all compositional devices, turning an analytical tendency to good use.

    His current showing is dominated by figure paintings on brown masonite. Making use of his ground he creates full form

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  • Pavel Tchelitchew

    Rex Evans Gallery

    Among the most contortive exploitations the figure subject has ever survived was that received from the fertile imaginative wanderings and probings of Tchelitchew. He possessed a surplus of academic skills, but seems to have been too radically effusive a personality to maintain a clear direction; each drawing then is a succinct performance, one of a series. How, examining each random sample from a span of twenty years, could this Humpty Dumpty go back together?

    Equally at home with pen, wash, pencil, or gouache, there is always flair or polish. “Boy’s Back,” “Pansies,” the circus dressing room

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  • Jose Clemente Orozco

    Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego

    A selection of seventy studio works (drawings and temperas from family and private collections, seen for the first time in the U.S.) was marked by several rare treats, but, only after wading through a miscellaneous majority of bitterly satirical Expressionist allegories from the last decade of his life. One would rather remember his solid achievements, the frescoes of the late ’20s and early ’30s. The small, final working tempera “Zapata” (1930) sums up his mural power—Giottoesque simplicity. Severely architectonic, the group is kept to a narrow stage of planes, developed in a limited warm-cool

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  • Anthony Berlant

    David Stuart Gallery

    “I want my work to be as intense, as vague, as beautiful, and as ugly as life itself.” So Berlant has written, and judging by his pictures and particularly from his tin constructions, he has achieved some of the simultaneous awareness he was after.

    His three-dimensional pieces in the shapes of cubes and houses are covered by decorated tin from discarded commercial containers, toys, signs, and apple juice cans from which he never drinks. Sensations and references are so mixed as in “Black Tulip Block” in which a 7-Up bottle is crossed with ungainly flowers, that it says something of the conglomeration

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  • Lothar Kestenbaum

    Ankrum Gallery

    The cast iron animals of Kestenbaum are the most impressive. Seeing one stimulates the mind to create the wild environment which exists around it. Every part of the animal’s body has been worked on by the wind and rugged terrain. In casting, Kestenbaum uses the lost wax process. He seems to have worked the forms rapidly and by making areas of a belly or neck lattice-like, he has merged the creature even more with the free air. The implication of the environment plus the sense of untamed life, make these animals satisfying because they are a fulfillment of type. A horse rolls on his back before

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  • William Dole

    University of California at Santa Barbara

    The unusual unity of William Dole’s retrospective exhibition is visual evidence of his impeccable selectivity and the continuity of his vision. Dole is a master of symmetry, balance and structure and to these he brings a rare and often lively sense of color that builds his beautiful collages to nearly perfect things. In his controlled and sensitive work Dole has not succumbed to the demands of the market place for large, noisy, shocking pictures, but in spite of this, or perhaps because of it, he is in great demand and is represented in many of the significant collections of this country and

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  • Clinton Adams

    Felix Landau Gallery

    Most of the paintings in the present exhibit contain a vertical band which halves the canvas and upon which is a circle placed centrally and partly covered by the two side areas. These elements provide a field day for interpretation.

    Alexei Jawlensky once wrote that “precisely because the artist creates according to intuition—that is, more or less instinctively—he says more than he intended to say.” There is a fringe of experience still waiting after the physical work of art is completed. By extension therefore, the creative process is not complete without the appreciator, and it behooves a

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  • Schmidt-Rottluff, Gabriele Munter, Erich Heckel, Ernst Nay, George Grosz, Gabriele Munter, Dunoyer de Segonzac, Erich Heckel, Ernst Nay, Jun Dobashi, Raoul Dufy, Reuven Rubin, Lyonel Feininger, Sir Jacob Epstein, Dan Lutz, Andrew Dasburg and more

    Dalzell Hatfield Galleries

    An establishment that has been called “a petite museum,” for their extensive collections of German Expressionist and French Impressionist paintings—whose catholicity of taste and selectivity through the years has made them one of the West Coast’s most important galleries, has organized a group exhibition of unusual interest. Among the German Expressionist painters whose works are displayed are Schmidt-Rottluff, Gabriele Munter, Erich Heckel, Ernst Nay, and George Grosz. There is an especially appealing still-life in watercolor with oil overpainting by Gabriele Munter who is best remembered for

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  • Ward Kimball, Jack Stuck, John Battenberg, Roger Baird, R. Hartman, Paul Pernisch, Ronald Grow, Ihle, Tom Akawie, Dennis Beall, D. McClellan, G.R. Kerciu, Ramon Cadiz, Pat Tavenner, Ed Higgins, and Lew Carlson

    Occidental College

    Hung in Occidental’s auditorium lobby, the exhibit has a curiously transient, uneasy air. Works were selected from artists of the Comara Gallery by Occidental art professor, Constance Perkins. It is slated to travel to such exotic spots as Utah and Anchorage under the Western Association of Art Museums. Miss Perkins’ idea was to group works reflecting the effect of Pop yet somehow avoid that stance. It seemed that the recurrent parallel was Pop’s ironical detachment.

    By definition we face works which stand in the same relation to the avant-garde as did, say, Fra Angelico to Pollaiuolo. Mixed in

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  • Alberto Collie

    Comara Gallery

    Whatever merits exist in the paramount idea presented by this young Venezuelan design student are lost in diverting claims and justifications and a shuffle of failings. His black and white paintings are rather obvious graphic layers of flowing band patterns, and the several reliefs are adequate asymmetrical arrangements of spheres in a dished backing—all serving to distract from the “sculptures.” These, his major technological achievements, a series called “Spatial Absolutes,” are an all too tentative investigation into the power of recently developed magnets to cause a form to float above its

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  • Philip Van Aver

    Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego | La Jolla

    In a showing of ink and watercolor miniatures (5 by 7 inches is usual) he has wrought scenes of artifice of a scale and dedication almost beyond belief. Certainly he is contenting himself in an indulgent, private backwater in combining the patience associated with the East with the allover tangibility of the Italian Quatrocento and manuscript illumination.

    Fashioning still lifes, luscious bouquets, languorous women in interiors, and winter landscapes, they are cut off by elaborately decorated frames, each object covered with (indeed, made up of) varieties of these same ornaments. The color is

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  • John Altoon, Anthony Berlant, Jesus A. Martinez, Peter Krasnow, Helen Lundeberg and Oliver Andrews

    Los Angeles Art Association

    Lorser Feitelson headed the selection committee for this group show. What “Art Now” really defines is a light survey of the year’s gallery offerings by local artists. There are representative selections of local practitioners of Pop, Op, Formal, Cool, Figurative, and Abstract Expressionist modes. Some good people are left out, inept people are in. The affair is unpretentious, excepting the title.

    Half a dozen of the twenty-odd artists make it worth the trip: John Altoon shows a large pastel drawing, so lively and accomplished as to suggest that Gorky’s brand of poetic abstraction is reborn,

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  • Milton Hebald

    Zora Gallery

    In his exhibit of cast bronze sculpture, Milton Hebald has paraphrased Canova’s Paulina Borghese, but only managed to make fun of her. The lady was taken from her seat in Rome and given a studio couch and a pony tail. Thus, the neo-classic sculpture becomes colloquial, but in this case it is only the result of diluting a good idea.

    Two themes open to anyone, the Three Graces and the Rape of the Sabines, are also treated by Hebald, but again he is only playing. As with every other piece in the show, these two are the size of a cocktail conversation piece and lack scale, and in each the bronze is

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  • Corda

    Esther Bear Gallery

    Corda is a young new artist exhibiting for the first time at the Esther Bear Gallery. Her recent paintings and drawings were done in and around Rome and the Italian coast, where she has lived for the past few years with her sculptor husband Jack Zajac. Her work is in direct contrast to her husband’s, which is powerful, masculine and at times brutal. Corda is feminine, poetic, delicate and at times seems to be painting shadows rather than substance.

    She creates a strange sense of scale with these illusive figurative paintings which blend into and almost escape into the canvas, rather than dominating

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  • Gloria Longval

    Paideia Gallery

    This young Spanish-born artist is preoccupied with the humanities. Her oils are rich and glowing, emotion packed and referential to Goya’s strong social and explosive iconographic expressions of fear and loneliness. But this is no copyist; Longval’s work is honest, her brushwork sure. “The Spectre” is a grim comment wherein a haunting, white-faced personality may be either ghost or clown, a psychic phenomenon where beast and human recede and emerge to recede again. The tigers may be animals becoming men or men may be humans becoming tigers. This is an exhibit which may not be easily forgotten,

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  • Benton Scott

    Gallerie de Ville

    It does not follow that an artist who refuses to participate in the frantic race from one innovation to another, a practice generally applauded by critics and buyers today, is necessarily in a rut. The prospects for exploration by artists dedicated to a more confined philosophy are equally promising though perhaps not as exhilarating for either the artist or his following. Satisfaction there must be, though, for many fine artists who by comparison demonstrate a very limited horizon but continue to survive and appear to suffer no serious debility as a result.

    Benton Scott is one of these artists

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  • David Schnabel

    Heritage Gallery

    A strong colorist, Schnabel paints enigmas with thematic content often with ominous atomic references. The linear strokes are reminiscent of stained glass and a Rouault technique. The pigments are mostly red, purple and pink. Schnabel sets on glazes of tone over tone, achieving a shimmering depth of many-faceted imagery. Archaic and archetypal the forms represent groups, never an individual, caught in a framework of connecting lines. Done by less experienced hands, without the mysterious content and strong painterly qualities, these canvases might be as pretty as a rose, purple and pink boudoir.

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  • Sid Shana

    The Ray Bowman-Eric Mann Gallery

    What at first appeared to be a group show turned out to be a one-man exhibit by Sid Shana. There was a Jackson Pollock drip painting, “Mother and Child,” another, “Creation,” with the wavering shapes of an Arthur Dove, a spritely geometric piece after Kandinsky, and some Picasso. Two paintings, “Sunrise at Taos” and “Mexican Village” did contain a mood of patience and the sense of large mountain, small house that was worth taking in. Their colors are kept in one family of dusty hues, and heavy forms are pleasingly coupled with dark outlines. Lithographs of these and other paintings were more

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