reviews

  • Anthony Caro, Dan Flavin, and Larry Poons

    Sculpture LXIV from Anthony Caro’s recent New York exhibition is parented by almost three years of work with small base-related sculptures. Caro’s decision to work with a base may seem surprising in the light of his very early commitment to placing sculpture directly on the ground, thereby refusing to it the guarantee of a status in space separate or apart from the viewer’s own. In re-opening the issue of the base, Caro seems to intend a re-examination of the essence of the uniquely sculptural object. For, one of the important preludes to the Minimalist conception of sculpture was the kind of

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  • The 1930’s

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    The 1930s is in many respects an admirable and instructive resumé which aids in satisfying a growing curiosity about the coexistent and overlapping adventures of this misrepresented decade. Curator William Agee is to be praised for his rejection of the exclusivist view of a so-called Social Realist domination of the period. He gives equal time to American Surrealism, American Abstraction, and, somewhat more questionably, European expatriate art being produced in America at that moment. To my disappointment, I find that a particularly important area of the thirties has been neglected: I mean the

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  • Francis Bacon

    Marlborough | Midtown

    Today, there are very few—if indeed any—great representational Expressionist painters. If, in fact, there are, then perhaps Francis Bacon is the single greatest exponent of the mode. This being so, then he is a very great painter indeed, and the following carping may be read from the outset as nothing more than the murmurings of preconception set up against a painting which, while breaking rules, somehow manages to succeed. But I begin to wonder whether in violating canons of good painting Bacon really succeeds in establishing new desiderata. I think not.

    My caveat is concerned with the kind of

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  • The French Bronzes and Jean Marchand

    Knoedler & Company

    Knoedler cannot be overpraised for its revelatory exhibition, The French Bronzes, 1500 to 1800. This show presents a remarkable survey of fine connoisseur productions which, while raising arduous technical and historical questions, still provide the full play of indulgences implied by the term connoisseurship. The space limitations of this review must stress the sensuous character of these works, since the historical knowledge required to adequately grapple with this exhibition is of such an order as to temper the enthusiasm of even the most expert authorities in the field of decorative art.

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  • Antoni Tapies

    Martha Jackson Gallery

    It is a delusion to imagine that one can describe features of Antoni Tapies’s art which rise above patent self-imitation and the febrility of an unremitting Expressionist unctuousness. My despair of Tapies is caused by the very closeness of his flirtations with hard critical issues. He brings his spectators to a margin of authentic difficulty only to disappoint them anew with quick and easy solutions. The signature exacerbation and flaying at moments verge on the heroically ugly and are therefore potentially powerful. Come this far, Tapies must, he imagines, “redeem himself” with grace note

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  • Alan Saret

    Bykert Gallery

    After plodding around, for the better part of the last year or so, through sundry heaps of minimal monuments and dirt piles, flailing plastic biomorphs, sodden or silly polychrome wiggles, and uninspired planks and boxes, I was beginning to think that the prospects for a sculptural renaissance were pretty slim. Recently, several one-man shows by artists under the age of thirty have suggested, to the contrary, that some fresh ideas are circulating again, making for a lively and inventive new group of objects, sculptures, and in-betweens.

    “Mountains of Chance, Documents of Ruralism . . . Changing

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  • Christopher Wilmarth, Eva Hesse, and Paul Brach

    Various Locations

    Another newcomer was Christopher Wilmarth, with his first show at the Graham Gallery. He proves adept at both wall-relief and floor-based sculptures done in a satisfying though unexpected combination of softly polished light birchwood and plate glass. The bulk and apparent weight of the wooden volumes and extended masses are contrasted with the transparency and vulnerability of the glass—but both of these traditional or known “truth to materials” qualities are actually contradicted or modified by the specific way in which Wilmarth has chosen to use the glass and wood. The latter is shaped into

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  • Paul Caponigro and Duane Michals

    Various Locations

    A show at the Museum of Modern Art reviewed the current work of a young American, Paul Caponigro, whose photographs were recently published in a monograph by Aperture. Caponigro spent a year in England and Ireland photographing Stonehenge, Druid’s altars, megalithic stone circles and dolmens. He aimed to involve himself emotionally with the process and human activity which went into their formation. In this sense he brings a much greater commitment and almost moral obligation to these impeccably printed and elegantly composed pictures than he does to his earlier intimate studies of flowers,

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  • Egon Schiele, The American Impressionists and Childe Hassam

    Various Locations

    The show of watercolors and drawings by Egon Schiele at the Galerie St. Etienne was a very instructive one. Schiele has had a great deal going against him—I mean our understanding of him: he was talented, lived in a fascinating and very rich culture on the verge of extinction, and himself died young. And so we generally think of him as a tormented spirit who from the very outset produced masterpieces and, rather in the fashion of Rimbaud, left behind him a body of work that has the intensity and authenticity of the visions of prophets and seers. I think that what one finds is very far from all

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