New York

“Abstract Inflationists and Stuffed Expressionists”

Graham Gallery

Under a buoyant rain of blue balloons, a small group of diverse talents have assembled together at the Graham Gallery. Calling themselves Abstract Inflationists and Stuffed Expressionists their hi-jinks just managed to deflate the real merits of the demonstrators.

The stuffing—half farce and moitie-farci—holds true of Philip Orenstein and Jean Lindner. Orenstein paints liquitex semaphore signals on the inner lining of transparent vinyl pillows. All hot air. More ambitious, Jean Lindner works in stuffed canvas units like biomorphic paraphrases that roll the unpleasantness of horsehair sofas, the modernity of jump seats and the nostalgia of childhood’s medicine balls into one hallucinatory and strong indictment.

Lindner is a considerable talent. Other notable “A-1’s” include Frank Viner, a kind of Oldenburg who never travels without his matching set of 1920s Louis Vuitton paquebot luggage and Eva Hesse whose slapstick ball and chain might easily pass for an anarchist bomb designed by a color-blind obsessive-compulsive. Marc Morrel petulantly refuses to decide between the borborygmic forms of Oldenburg or the Miesian ones of New Abstraction. He therefore penetrates some innocent grey donuts with a beautiful Day-Glo I-Beam. Paul Harris’s Woman was to complete the “S-E” selection, but she never made it. However, the flier illustration suggests a “nostalgie de Raggedy Ann,” a doll assembled from a kit somebody’s mother got by mistake from the Cream of Wheat Company in 1938.

Robert Pincus-Witten