reviews

  • The English Eye

    Marlborough-Gerson Gallery

    The left eye seems to be winking at the young’uns while the right eye, reserved for the veterans, is gray and cataracted. The birth dates that succeed each artist’s name in this review of “The English Eye” at the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, are put there to demonstrate something that daily grows more evident—just how good the kids are and how dull the old timers. Not that this situation is absolute or irrevocable. There is some pretty wretched kid-stuff, and the kids themselves will doubtless be supplanted by a next generation (cold comfort). Naturally there are figures who span the years, whose

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  • Pierre Bonnard

    Acquavella Galleries

    Acquavella Galleries show a selection of largely unknown Pierre Bonnards from the Bowers collection (the heirs of Madame Bonnard), part of the tidy parcel excised out of the long-contested Bonnard Estate. The works range from the proto-Art Nouveau of the 1890s through the dazzling late work produced in the last two decades of the master’s life.

    One of the teasing questions connected with Bonnard is, for all his Post-Impressionist carryover, why does he appear so fresh and vital, so contemporary? Certainly today’s art establishment cares not a jot for Intimist props (perhaps with the exception of

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  • William Tucker

    Feigen Gallery

    The English sculptor William Tucker makes his American debut at the Feigen Gallery with a group of works done over the past three years. Tucker is one of the new “conceptual form” sculptors who works almost exclusively with regular geometric forms, both planar and solid, disposed rhythmically through space in sequential fashion. Working in polychrome metal, plastics, and wood, his pieces are given an industrial finish consonant with their idealized Platonic forms. Tucker’s intellectualized perfection of image and execution does not lead to hackneyed Purist sterilities however. Skillful articulation

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  • Billy Apple

    Bianchinni Gallery

    Billy Apple’s rainbows, at the Bianchinni Gallery, are among the most beautiful that hover over the present scene.

    Orphist aureoles, Synchromist apology and prismatic mysticism are all aspects of the rainbow’s quirky career in the 20th century. Kupka and Delaunay were fascinated by rainbows less as natural phenomena than visual theorems. The Synchromist band of Americans spending “Wanderjahren” in Paris and denying affiliation with the Orphists nonetheless came up with analogous theories. Turn of the century initiates in occult mysteries––disenchanted Rosicrucians and Theosophists—elected to

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  • Lyman Kipp

    Betty Parsons Gallery

    The familiar Lyman Kipp, an elegant variation of Vantongerloo, nice enough in itself, has been updated without being upgraded in this most recent showing at Betty Parsons Gallery. No longer content with de Stijl exercises in the ornamental potentialities of the mere cube (though de Stijl apologists would balk at the word “ornamental”), Kipp has blown scale up to monumental proportions. There is no real sense of the monumental in these Dolmens. Monumentality is after all a larger-than-life appearance, or an experience of that appearance, whether or not it is accompanied by the grandiose physical

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  • Marjorie Strider

    Pace Gallery

    The works of Marjorie Strider at the Pace Gallery give evidence of a “fresh and unspoiled” simplemindedness. She has a simple, factual imagination which, in the present exhibition, serves to bludgeon an all too familiar idea to death. The gambit: soft, burpy forms (clouds, for example) which give off one kind of information are superimposed with another order of information, say hard conflicting facts like window ledges. Conversely the soft is superimposed on the hard: rocks in the sea beaten by waves. Sometimes the superimpositions are of the same type—a pictorial projection of a bean pod on

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  • Giacomo Manzu

    Paul Rosenberg & Co.

    At Paul Rosenberg and Co. an important exhibition of works by Giacomo Manzu features what the catalog confusingly terms “preparatory or final realizations” of the great bronze door of St. Peter’s at present installed in the Basilica. As only the Roman door itself can be the “final realization,” the reliefs on view must be studies or variants, since all of Manzu’s bronzes are unique casts from his waxes. These variants deal in similar form with the subjects on the door proper. Though Manzu had been at work on the project since receiving the commission in 1947, the final version displays an

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  • Italian Renaissance Drawings

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Drawings from the Italian Renaissance is the first of a series of exhibitions devoted to master drawings from public and private collections located in the New York area to be organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art together with the Pierpont Morgan Library. Beginning logically with the first great epoch in Western art from which drawings survive in any number, the exhibition provides a sumptuous first course in what promises to be a feast for the eyes extending over several seasons. As the masters of the Italian Renaissance still hold the favored position in public taste that they have

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  • Paul Feeley

    Betty Parsons Gallery

    Veteran Paul Feeley shows constructions rather than paintings in his current show at Betty Parsons. These works in painted plywood are all based on the round cornered square with curved-in sides that has been a familiar feature of his art for some time now. Interlocking multiples of this form severely order the space around them, engaging a far greater amount of surrounding territory than ought to be possible by the right-angled intersection of two thin planes. The pieces perversely deal with volumes while themselves having negligible mass and limited extent. Their polychromy does, however, give

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  • Nagare

    Staempfli Gallery

    The Japanese sculptor Nagare shows impressive monoliths at Staempfli and once more points up the appalling decline of direct stone sculpture in the West. The key to Nagare’s successes lies in his profound grasp of the specific material nature of each stone he works and his respectful way of letting it have quite a say about the kind of image it will form. This is not the hokey “regard for the sense of the block” which led a whole generation of American sculptors to think that they could let the rocks do the thinking for them, but rather an approach to the material with a formal proposal which

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  • Etienne Martin

    Lefebre Gallery

    Etienne Martin’s first American show at the Lefebre Gallery struggles manfully against the spatial limitations of the exhibition space in an effort to find some room in which to stretch. Huddled in a cozy room and a half, his biggish pieces are obliged to thrust wantonly at the viewer surfaces meant only to be seen from some distance. Smaller works which might have had a chance were jostled to death or dwindled unhappily. The pieces themselves offer a variety of interpretations of standard European sculptural conceptions, such as “Petit Couple,” “Mandoline,” and “Grand Couple Tapie.” The banality

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