New York

Joe Goode

Kornblee Gallery

A sound argument had been propounded for “Joe Goode and the Common Object” by Philip Leider (Artforum, March 1965). Leider’s assessment was formulated in the light of late nineteenth century American trompe I’oeil (Harnett, Haberle, Peto). To this “tradition of desperate lonely attachments to well worn common objects,” Leider appended the critical oeuvre of Jasper Johns, rightly viewing Goode as an annexation to Johns’s esthetic. Unfortunately for Goode, too many paintings of about 1963 are still being shown in the present installation which amounts, for better or worse, to a kind of watch-fob retrospective. These works, built on a suburban house motif, are now neither sufficiently old, nor new, to hold their own in the Big City. Nor are they vitally blighted enough to merit Urban Reviewal.

The same logginess is projected by the staircases covered in cheap broadloom. They conjure up issues as far removed from those of elementary structures as shopping through the Yellow Pages for a neighborhood rug cleaner. The most recent paintings depict skies and clouds. These wispy efforts as explicitly state Goode’s aims as they subvert them. He does not paint either well or fluently enough to be convincing—nor for that matter, does he paint badly. What comes through is the vitiation of the Johnsian stream and the vitality of Magritte. It seems that Goode’s diffidently rather than confidently painted prefabs and balloon frames are less about the “oppressive atmosphere of vacuous Midwestern tidiness” (Leider) than the adoption, conscious or otherwise, of the suburban afternoons and evenings of Magritte’s Bruxelles-Uccles.

Robert Pincus-Witten