reviews

  • Richard Tuttle

    Betty Parsons Gallery

    Richard Tuttle’s show of hardly definable canvas octagons at the Betty Parsons Gallery was impressive in the quietest and most radically undermining way. His crumpled, then flattened-out pieces of canvas, hemmed along their irregularly proportioned contours, and dyed through both faces of the fabric—stretched without armature onto the walls or placed on the floor—are not paintings in the narrowest physical sense, nor are they sculptures, nor even “hangings.” They defy pinpointing (as all art of high quality probably should), and challenge one’s preconceived notions about what constitutes

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  • Kastutis Zapkus

    Stable Gallery

    The shadow of textile design falls across much of present-day sensibility. Early Stellas are called “pinstripes” and the recent Nolands are talked of in terms of “awning stripes” and “mattress-ticking.” A like metaphor is applicable to Kastutis Zapkus’s new paintings at the Stable. On the shallowest level they seem so many buntefarbe Rodier weaves.

    About eight years ago a grid formation slowly began to emerge out of Zapkus’s expressionist canvases. By degrees this formation became the explicit tectonic anchor of his work—at length swelling into exposed serial structures and polyptychs. Recently,

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  • Hans Hofmann

    Emmerich Gallery

    The Emmerich Gallery showed a group of Hans Hofmann’s paintings from 1955 to 1964. One painting in particular, Scintillating Red from 1962, possesses a beauty which makes one unsure of how best to cope with an art that is rooted, visibly, in the recent past but which makes itself felt with a freshness that continues to defy the past. One can so easily fail Hofmann by talking a historically of what it is that enthralls, or else subtly devalue his achievement by discussing his work purely in terms of recent history. A painting like Scintillating Red for instance—which consists of a single, explosive

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  • David Annesley

    Poindexter Gallery

    David Annesley showed three sculptures at the Poindexter Gallery which were extremely impressive. One piece (they were untitled) was, I felt, quite a bit less successful than the other two; attempting to account for its relative failure made one aware of the subtlety and denseness of the internal consistency of the three works and also how blunt and hopelessly generalized is the kind of terminology habitually used to deal with open metal sculpture.

    The pieces that Annesley showed in his last exhibition differ from his recent sculpture in slight but important ways; the work from both shows manifests

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  • Mark Feldstein

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery

    Mark Feldstein’s one man exhibition at the Tibor de Nagy was the first he has had in New York. By any standard it was a good show but I was bothered by an aura of inconsequentiality that the paintings could not seem to overcome. The paintings propose a remote, neutral flatness which is given a precise measure of life by the white lines (actually the white of the sized canvas) which divide up the surfaces into a succession of geometric partitions. In almost all cases Feldstein uses a uniform pastel hue for the ground and the effect of the lines is that they are at once integrally a part of the

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  • Alice Neel

    Graham Gallery

    Alice Neel, who showed a group of portraits at the Graham Gallery, has a striking ability to get down what it is that is quick and aware and also specific in a human gaze. She concentrates on that riveting and elusive mobility which passes from the look in the eyes to the tension of cheeks and mouth, and goes after it with a style that is above all functional. That is, it has the aptness and inconsistencies of a style that closely mirrors the artist’s concentration—when the concentration falters the style itself obtrudes and seems fiddling and amateurish—Girl in a Green Dress, Anxiety and Hippie

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  • Tony Delap and Gerald Laing

    Elkon Gallery and Feigen Gallery

    Although Tony Delap and Gerald Laing are very different artists I think their exhibitions shared a common failing: the materials they use obtrude and instead of serving the artist simply extinguish whatever expressiveness is intended. (DeLap’s free-standing constructs are made from aluminum, wood, fiberglass and plexiglass and Laing’s wall-constructs from formica, painted aluminum and chromed brass.) Even this isn’t getting to the heart of what is wrong because I felt that behind the artists’ insistence on using materials pretty much unaltered, lies the conviction that the particular qualities

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  • Victor Vasarely

    Janis Gallery

    Victor Vasarely, in his first showing since 1965 at the Sidney Janis Gallery, proves that he is the adroit and unrivaled master of a fashionable though largely superficial kind of “abstract trompe l’oeil” painting, which has been commonly called “optical art.” The exhibition is organized around two new series, the Ion and the Deuton panels, also including many other single experiments, some columnar sculptures, and three-dimensional plexiglass constructions. In the Ion suite, Vasarely fits together hexagonal segments which are trisected into parallelograms and painted in carefully graded values

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  • Brice Marden

    Bykert Gallery

    Brice Marden’s current set of gradations from charcoal grey to deep mauve at the Bykert Gallery, pushes his concern with edge to the very brink of inconsequentiality. And yet, one hesitates to admit that as a group these paintings still have a certain appeal. All together, their effect is like the kind of overwhelming quiet which fills an empty, darkened room, or like the contemplative starkness of a monk’s cell. One’s attraction to them, then, is on the order of such a subdued, though slightly pleasant sensation. At the same time, their insistent greyness flatly denies a response even as strong

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  • Kenneth Snelson

    Dwan Gallery

    Kenneth Snelson’s attractive stainless steel tube and wire-strung constructions at the Dwan Gallery are of interest mainly for their demonstration of an expensive and tasteful idea, rather than in terms of real plastic or sculptural significance. As examples of a certain kind of superficial structural “mathematics,” or as monuments to a svelte, modern look, they show how accomplished craftsmanship and a stylish intellectual skin are made to appear really Important.

    Three large pieces and several small maquettes were exhibited, but the great differences in scale do not appreciably change one’s

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  • Richard Artschwager

    Castelli Gallery | Uptown

    The bland hermeticism sensible throughout the present exhibition of Richard Artschwager’s sculpture is a foil to the arresting critical notions Artschwager is playing with. Three years ago Artschwager was an easy mark, the classicistic counterweight to Oldenburg’s soft sculpture. His real virtues were clouded in the smog of second generation Pop. Shortly thereafter, the representational aspects expunged from his work, Artschwager was seen as a reflection of the general surge toward minimal structure. Yet, through this distillation a residue of furniture remained—even after Artschwager had

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  • 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

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  • Sam Gilliam

    Phillips Collection and Jefferson Place Gallery

    I mentioned earlier a “major breakthrough” in Sam Gilliam’s work: this occurred in the summer of 1966, and was first brought to public notice in his show that fall at the Jefferson Place Gallery. Suddenly and dramatically, a former follower of the Washington Color School emerged as having broken loose from the “flat color areas” style, and as an original painter in his own right. This season, Gilliam has followed up the excitement of that show with a couple of exhibitions running successively at the Phillips Collection (Gilliam’s first museum show) and at the Jefferson Place Gallery.

    Gilliam’s

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