New York

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 show at the Phillips seemed to me badly chosen and unsympathetically hung. The selection, made by Director Marjorie Phillips, included a variety of work done over the previous year: the result of this mixing of dissimilar series was that Gilliam’s more recent, “vertical folds” paintings had trouble

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