• Whitney Annual: Sculpture

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    Museum openings, for some reason, whether it is the fur and the clatter, or the Crest toothpaste smiles of everyone including the works of art, always put me to thinking of the end of Western civilization. They are the art world’s affirmation of old Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption, decked up with a whorishness impossible to resist. That of the Whitney Museum’s 1968 Sculpture Annual was no exception. Hundreds of people coquettishly trying to look younger than they are, younger than the young, dabbed their ashes and spilled their drinks on the floor while successfully, and in most cases

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  • William Zorach

    Brooklyn Museum and Danenberg Galleries

    The respectful installation at the Brooklyn Museum of William Zorach’s pictorial achievement traces his steps from Lithuania, to Cleveland, to New York and to Paris. Allowing Curator Donelson Hoopes to speak for the earliest years in his commendable catalog essay, perhaps the best place to join Zorach is in 1907, when, after a brief stay at the National Academy of Design in New York, he travels to Paris and then throughout France, and eventually to Switzerland and Germany. This continental sojourn, which ended in 1912, leads to an Edenic and animalistic imagery much in the debt of Rodin, even

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  • “Black Artists of the 1930s”

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    The Whitney Museum’s survey of art in America in the 1930s received heavy coverage for reasons that were not, possibly, immediately central to its considerations. Shortly after the opening one read in The New York Times of its having been picketed by a group of artist militants angered by the neglect of black painters which they felt had characterized the Whitney manifestation. Their charge, it seems to me, if it is to be given credence at all, should have been predicated not on a census percentage representation but rather on the possibility that the sources normal to a practicing curator,

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  • Jo Baer and Al Leslie

    Goldowsky Gallery

    Jo Baer continues to exploit a strongly analytical and didactic penchant. Her seemingly empty canvases opt for marginal preoccupations similar to those of a wide front of intellectually oriented paintings (and sculptures as well), from the arid work of Miss Baer herself to the liquefactious aerations of Jules Olitski. Most recently Miss Baer presented a square black border fitted against the margins of the canvas itself. This in turn was lined in sequence with a red edge, a blue edge and a yellow edge—three canvases in all. Such didacticism may be equated with similar attachments in the expository

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  • June Leaf

    Frumkin Gallery

    It is regrettable that June Leaf has waited for so many years before holding her first one-man exhibition in New York City. The most recent was held in Chicago in 1965, and before that, a decade previously, in the same city. Owing to her enormous conscientiousness and reticence to show, the present exhibition is inevitably going to be viewed either as a raunchy reworking of Chicago nostalgia, similar, but enormously superior, to the Midwest photo albums of, say, Ellen Lanyon, or an even more rank and fetid rendition of Red Grooms. Both views probably have some basis in fact, yet, had June Leaf

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  • John McCracken

    Robert Elkon Gallery

    At the Robert Elkon Gallery, slightly confused visitors walked among seven sets of mute, white, rectangular plywood boxes which flanked the length of the single room, asking where the John McCracken show could be seen. To viewers who have been accustomed to the lustrous polish of McCracken’s elegant epoxy-finished planks, richly coated with appealing colors like plum or lipstick red, the neutrality and unglamorous coolness of these constructed modular forms is quietly unsettling. Spaced 58 inches apart across the length of the gallery floor and reaching over seven feet in height, the columnar

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  • George Segal

    Sidney Janis Gallery

    For anyone familiar with George Segal’s plaster-peopled environments, there was more of the familiar in this year’s showing at the Sidney Janis Gallery. Though descended from the disorganized variety and excitement of the early Happenings, the new arrangements and neat variations of setting begin to look more and more trivial—and less than ever as if anything is really happening. I still find Segal’s plaster casts and cropped environments awkwardly achieved even at their most psychologically haunting or arresting. Earlier works often benefited from this very awkward element in the starkness and

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  • Ruth Vollmer

    Betty Parsons Gallery

    Ruth Vollmer showed her sculptural explorations of the sphere at the Betty Parsons Gallery. Diluted post-Bauhaus, warmed over into modestly scaled modern Minimal, was the overall look of the models and large pieces. Although elegant, well-made and cleverly conceived, there was little else which raised these works above the rather mechanical exercises in organization and dynamics (some of the pieces float or rock, or suggest variability) which they appear to be. What was best demonstrated is that a bit of sophistication and good fabricating can go a long way these days to accomplish a look which

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  • James Bishop

    Fischbach Gallery

    That Jim Bishop has lived away from the United States for the past decade (he has been painting in Paris) accounts, I think, for the sense of private, circumscribed ambition and of a self-exploratory enterprise which one feels upon viewing his paintings. Work from the past two years shown at the Fischbach Gallery reveals that Bishop has not particularly cared to keen pace with the blown-up scaling and brilliant, hard-edge color fields which emerged in the work of other American painters who had worked in Paris (Kelly, Held, Noland) and in the post-Abstract Expressionist paintings done here in

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  • William King

    Dintenfass Gallery

    At the Dintenfass Gallery, William King’s latest aluminum figures looked like giant cookie cutouts, combining a stylized formalism with the humorous caricature which was more typical of his earlier vinyl and burlap stuffed models and carved wooden figure groups. Now working in half-inch-thick sheet aluminum, King has made his anonymous interpenetrating silhouettes less specific to the features and characterization of the human form. This kind of generalization is often quite effective, as in the large pair called Learning, where the elongated legs of a man bending over to hold a little girl’s

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