• Robert Irwin

    Pace | 32 East 57th Street

    What is deterministic in the artistic processes of Robert Irwin and what is optional in the viewing of his work, mesh chimerically in the consciousness. For there is something minatory in one’s helplessness in sorting out the boundaries of color tones that are known to be quite discrete, as they are applied in dotted screens. Overlappings, therefore, occur only in an imagination betrayed by the knowledge that Irwin’s materials are laid down exclusively side by side. This was the Neo-Impressionist ethic, too, to be sure, but the Seurat group emphasized tangibility, and firmly modulated transitions:

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  • Les Levine

    Fischbach Gallery

    A rather chilly exhibition, authored by a man named Les Levine, comprised in part of what looked like frigidaires swaddled in glistening vinyl, opened at the Fischbach Gallery. A Canadian artist hitherto unshown in these parts, Levine apparently feels so at home here that he is immediately kindled by the sensuous aspect of something called Eastman’s Uvex Plastic sheet. According to the flyer accompanying the show, “The sculptures are vacuum-formed from clear plastic sheet, then back sprayed with a silver metallic paint to create the glossy, silvery appearance.” Additionally, constructed armatures

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  • Michael Steiner

    Dwan Gallery

    Debuts by young artists these days seem to fall into one of two categories. Either their exhibitions are somewhat insecure technically, and uncertain conceptually, or they are almost alarmingly with it, apparently leaving no fields left to conquer. Michael Steiner’s opening at Dwan lines up neatly with the latter extremity. Flawless even in their installation, his cast aluminum pieces project a structural confidence, and a differentiated geometrical vocabulary of mostly cantilevered or buttressed beams that go elegantly about their business. In addition, nothing could be more up to date than

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  • Fantin-Latour

    Acquavella Galleries

    In the catalog of the really delicious exhibition of flower paintings by Fantin-Latour at Acquavella, I came across an illuminating remark by Pierre Courthion: “In his own incomparable way, he (Fantin) has understood better than anyone the visual language of a bouquet of flowers, where each flower plays its own melody; the soft rustle of the white carnations and the red or multicolored ones which froth like the petticoats of a pretty girl . . .” To probe into these works, then, is perhaps to become a connoisseur of a genteel, Victorian eroticism. The latter would go far to explain the subdued

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  • Jim Dine

    Janis Gallery

    Some hitherto disagreeable, but relatively submerged aspects of Jim Dine’s art have come fully to the surface in his latest show at Janis. I refer to his incapacity to edit (if not control) the vagrant products of his output, and also to a rather persnickety cynicism that demeans only itself. The first means that undeveloped or throw-away ideas sully a production that once had a lyrically serious drive; the second indicates a kind of thumbing the nose even at his own irony––which makes one wonder why any work was worth the effort. At their wittiest, his new images rise to the level of cast

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  • Howard Kanovitz

    The Jewish Museum

    Howard Kanovitz’s current exhibition of paintings and drawings at the Jewish Museum shows how, among contemporary artists, an authentic engagement with the problems of figure painting is truly rare. Instead of confronting the psychological and pictorial complexities inherent in any artistic undertaking where the human figure is the focus of interest and effort, Kanovitz’s works are illustrational in both style and concept. The pictures are less figure paintings than group or single likenesses. The general arrangement has been determined by a photograph of the variety taken for a fee by “a

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  • Darby Bannard

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery

    Darby Bannard’s exhibition at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery consists of six large horizontal canvases of identical size. Immaculate and precise, the compositions are similar aggregations of irregular polygons whose sides are arcs of immense circles, circles much larger than any single canvas. Some looking at the pictures makes it clear that each composition is in fact geometrically so determined. On this conceptual basis rests the surface design of anonymous smooth color areas whose tonal harmony sets the mood of each painting.

    Four of the pictures are members of a series titled Blue Florida. Hung

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  • Maryan

    Frumkin Gallery

    Maryan’s recent exhibition of paintings and lithographs at the Allan Frumkin Gallery is perhaps the most dazzling of his hallucinatory groups of personages seen here in several years. While Maryan’s work has always been notable for its level of sustained inventiveness and power to command acceptance as a penetrating look into modes of being central to human experience, in the past he has brought this about alternatively by a super-clear visionary exposition of his fantasy or, as in his last show, with such violence and ferocity that the paintings seemed to preserve the imprint of a collision

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  • Martial Raysse

    Iolas Gallery

    The Martial Raysse exhibition now at the Iolas Gallery is another engrossing example of the misconstruction of the New World by the Old. M. Raysse utilizes American-made artistic and technical inventions, but makes his presentations with an endearing quality and giddiness that can only be French. There are three kinds of works in the show; paintings which are made up of separate rectangular panels of identical size, constructions of plastic and neon, and intarsia-like reliefs of flat layers of colored plastic. Also, at least one of the paintings has a neon ornament.

    The paintings utilize blown

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  • Lee Lozano

    Bianchini Gallery

    Lee Lozano’s group of five big paintings at the Bianchini Gallery provides an opportunity to see, in a well-developed form, some recent ramifications of a broad current in American art today, that of commitment to a reductive, abstract mode of expression which nonetheless permits a very rich kind of pictorial experience. In Miss Lozano’s work there is not the usual situation of preposterous inflation of modest formal ideas for the sake of a kind of absurd rhetoric, but a genuine and polished ability to compress, within a deliberately restricted range of forms, a ferment of energetic perception.

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  • Harvey Quaytman

    Royal Marks Gallery

    At the Royal Marks Gallery, Harvey Quaytman shows a series of large recent paintings which are more or less of the current “gestural abstraction” variety; that is to say, the image consists of a few large relaxed forms seen against a ground of unsized bare canvas. These forms seem to be the result of thinnish liquid pigment being allowed to extend itself in some direction under partial control by the artist. Quaytman’s manipulations go considerably further than this familiar process to give his works several novel features, both perceptual and technical.

    First, his color, a sober array of browns,

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  • Brian O’Doherty

    Byron Gallery

    Brian O’Doherty’s exhibition at the Byron Gallery is another of the manicured performances that seem to be the special prerogative of those who know a great deal about art, a great deal about artists, a great many artists, a great deal about the art world, and a very great deal about how to get along in the art world. All of these considerations are wantonly thrust upon the observer here, without quarter or mercy.

    Entering the gallery, one is confronted with a framed electrocardiograph of Marcel Duchamp, with Mr. O’Doherty’s name in the space indicated for “doctor.” This object, so rich in

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  • Rosemarie Beck

    Peridot Gallery

    Rosemarie Beck’s exhibition was almost overlooked. Right now New York is a Primary Structure festival and Miss Beck is a figurative painter. By itself, this is not the reason it was ignored, though it was most of the reason. Miss Beck is not original enough an illusionist to attack and not poor enough to forget. She is that difficult kind of painter––one who commands respect if she does not command love. And respect, if expressed for an unfashionable artist, is regarded by the beautiful people not so much as betrayal but––worse––terribly sentimental.

    Miss Beck turned from abstractionist to

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