reviews

  • Wassily Kandinsky

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    The Museum of Modern Art put on an extremely choice selection of Wassily Kandinsky watercolors. Forty out of the group of forty-six came from the collection of the artist’s widow and many of them had never been exhibited in this country before. Happily, the Guggenheim also mounted a group of Kandinsky oils from their, collection so that one had a particularly good opportunity to get an overview of Kandinsky’s career. Some of the watercolors have an extraordinary beauty and lucidity. Others suffer to such a degree from a kind of brittle, agitated over-elaboration that one wonders that the knowing

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  • James Ensor

    Albert Loeb and Krugier

    The show of the complete graphic works of James Ensor was remarkable. It didn’t include anything new, and it has all been reproduced by Loys Delteil in volume 19 of Le Peintre-Craveur IIlustré and by Albert Croquez, but I myself had never before seen it all together, and I found its impact quite unexpected. Ensor is certainly the most various of the fin de siècle artists: one can find all the elements that go to make up his work in the production of many other artists of his time—in Munch, Moreau, early Vuillard and early Mondrian, Khnopff—but in these others one finds only one or two of the

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  • John Hoyland

    Elkon Gallery

    The five paintings John Hoyland showed in his recent exhibition had a frankness of beauty, and a sensuousness to them, which made it immediately apparent that he had gone beyond his consistently accomplished level of achievement to something more profound. I don’t know Hoyland’s earlier work well, but of the relatively small number of paintings I have seen, I found myself impressed but also troubled by a certain dryness, and an awkward edge of constraint. I felt of his previous exhibition at the Elkon Gallery, for instance, that the paintings were enervated by a too calculated, intellectually

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  • Herbert Ferber

    Emmerich Gallery

    It has seemed for the past several years that Herbert Ferber has been unable to free his sculpture from an absolutely debilitating kind of preciosity; his recent sculptures offer little to dispel this impression. Beyond this, however, my own feeling is that there is something profoundly contradictory in their status as sculpture, their physical configuration begging to be seen in a way with which it is simply impossible to comply. The contradiction is something which is prevalent in much of today’s sculpture and has to do with the fact that Ferber’s sculptures are as basically dependent on a

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  • Philip Pearlstein

    Frumkin Gallery

    There is a defiant didacticism to Philip Pearlstein’s paintings which I think I would find less offensive if I could draw some kind of nourishment from them. But I can’t. Seeing a group of Pearlstein’s nudes left me with the indefinable feeling of seeing a group of non-paintings, that is, Pearlstein’s repeated and emphatic presentation of a fastidiously doctored verisimilitude forced me to dwell on that and nothing else. It is not a verisimilitude which ultimately, I feel, answers to Pearlstein’s felt response to what he sees, but one which fairly evidently answers to some sort of posture he

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  • Sylvia Stone

    Tibor de Nagy Gallery

    The gentle, precise elegance which characterizes Sylvia Stone’s tinted plexiglass constructions is not able ultimately, I feel, to overcome the more dominant impact of the incongruity of their hanging, wall-projecting, or floor-spanning states. While Miss Stone does not attempt to conceal the literalness with which each shaped expanse of plexiglass inhabits our space—the large freestanding piece, for instance, supporting itself very obviously by means of a neat rectangular outgrowth of the same material—neither does she in any way contend with the literalness. She seems merely to borrow the

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  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir

    Wildenstein

    The Renoir show was an interesting disappointment. Disappointment may not be quite the word, since to tell the truth I have never been enthusiastic about Renoir, but until now I have tried to withhold judgment, thinking the fault might be mine. That seems more difficult to do after this show, even though there were extenuating circumstances. One was the selection of pieces in the show. It consists largely of portraits, which gives a badly distorted view of what Renoir painted, and for that matter cannot even be used to trace the development of how he painted unless one uses the paintings in the

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  • Larionov

    Acquavella Galleries

    The announcement that Acquavella plans a series of Larionov exhibitions will lead to a spate of articles on this artist who played so central a role in Russian vanguardism in the early part of the century. This in turn will mean going back to Camilla Gray’s The Great Experiment, Russian Art 1863–1922 (1962), staring jealously at her pages of Russian bibliography, growing irked with the Public Library for separating art serials (Main Reading Room) from art books (Art and Architecture), turning to Waldemar George’s study of the painter and reading the Acquavella catalog by Françoise Daulte, which

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  • Max Weber

    Danenberg Gallery

    Were we speculating—we, a small body of “in touch” mandarins of contemporary art—about ten years ago, on those American masters of the 1930’s and 1940’s Establishment who had contributed most to our pictorial sensibility, then, I suppose, that Edward Hopper and Stuart Davis’s names would fly to our lips; one for a Cézannishly rigorous form and utter neutrality before objects usually regarded by the “profane” as banal and devoid of esthetic merit, the other for the flagrant sensuousness and vulgar jazziness of his later compositions. The issue at hand would of course be the emergence of Pop. Were

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  • Joaquin Torres-Garcia

    Royal Marks Gallery

    When Adolph Gottlieb’s pictograms of the ’40s were first seen, discussion centered—quite properly—on their Jungian implications, although the compositional type made up of grid and ideograph (which Gottlieb arrogated unto himself) was, in fact, not novel at all but had been fully articulated in the painting of Joaquin Torres-Garcia from the 1920s on. Gottlieb must have encountered this production in his early stays in Paris during the 1930s. If not, he certainly could have become acquainted with Torres-Garcia’s work in New York, as it was on view both at the Museum of Modern Art and the old

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  • George Sugarman

    Fischbach Gallery

    At the outset I should like it to be clear that the following comparisons are not meant to be invidious, although my remarks with regard to certain uses of color in sculpture may convey such an impression. George Sugarman and David Novros, the veteran and the comparative newcomer, are both first-rate professionals whose current exhibitions amply testify to their diverse and widely acknowledged strengths. Sugarman is the more immediately “recognizable” sculptor of the two, both in terms of the medium he employs—laminated, carved and polychromed wood which curiously suggests in its finished state

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  • Nicholas Krushenick

    Pace | 32 East 57th Street

    Nicholas Krushenick clearly is an artist of slick professionalism yet, within the larger issues of present-day pictorial consideration, the deficiencies of his pictures grow more palpably visible than his once self-evident virtues. Krushenick’s assorted vestiges of the Pop campaign—word balloons, lightning flashes—are inflated to the scale of history painting, and in their inflation more glaringly reveal the current balefulness, albeit gaiety, of his production. More than in any previous exhibition does Krushenick’s work appear to be a contingency of Roy Lichtenstein’s.

    The new compositions are

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  • David Novros

    Bykert Gallery

    David Novros’s pieces, on the other hand, are much easier to contend with on a descriptive level. They respect controlling vertical and horizontal relationships and play with arrangements of “L” templates. Previously these were all congruent but now they are employed more freely and entrap rectangles of the wall which are allowed to “bleed away” into the ground at some open corner. The “L” elements are also of altered proportions—the “foot” and the “spine” of the letter being of different lengths, which are determined by the addition or subtraction of a modular ratio.

    The most arresting aspect

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  • Sidney Tillim

    Noah Goldowsky Gallery

    Sidney Tillim showed two of his large figurative paintings and a number of watercolor studies and drawings at the Noah Goldowsky Gallery. Since Mr. Tillim is a critic who has been assiduous and perceptive in his frequent defenses of representational painting as well as in his discussions of modernism in the pages of Artforum, before turning to a critique of his current work, I think it is in order here to review some of the ideas upon which his own artistic enterprise is predicated. In his article, “A Variety of Realisms,” appearing in this issue, Mr. Tillim airs his dissatisfactions with the

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  • Peter Hutchinson

    John Gibson Gallery

    Peter Hutchinson showed his animate science-fiction landscapes in both scale models and photo-montages at the John Gibson Gallery. In the models, Hutchinson creates three types of encapsulated botanical or chemically self-contained and self-generating environments which flourish inside of hooked test tubes or glass cylinders and are set into fantastically contrasting natural landscapes. Inorganic, decaying, and primitive growths like molds, algae and mosses, or crystal-yielding chemical solutions proliferate within the enclosed tubes, which are surrounded by volcano, desert, or arctic scenes

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  • Robert Huot

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    In a catalog mailed out from the Paula Cooper Gallery, Robert Huot pictured a number of his architectural detailing projects which had been installed in the lofts and homes of various friends or collectors as well as in the gallery. These projects consist of, for instance: painting alternately glossy and matte white stripes on a section of an already white wall; running a molding strip along two corner lengths of a floor baseboard; attaching ten short I-beams to a ceiling projection, or otherwise altering some detail of the room, its surfaces, or environmental context. Still, these changes retain

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  • Stephen Greene

    Staempfli Gallery

    Stephen Greene’s studies, drawings and oils at the Staempfli Gallery show a hand and sensibility which are generally adroit in adapting to the needs of the mechanized biomorphic abstractions the artist has made his idiom. Like fantasized, fragmented, and floated machines, his rotating discs, socket-like forms and tensile lines are sketched out in a monochromatic Gorky-esque atmosphere which is both elegant and delicate in the best of the larger paintings such as the Equation of Night. Towards the formation of an intimately personal style Green draws on evident, though varied sources; his work

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  • James Rosenquist

    Castelli Gallery

    That James Rosenquist still entertains the possibility of creating a fully realized mural scale art (subsequent to his F-111 exhibited last year at the Metropolitan Museum) is once again evidenced by his recent showing at the Castelli Gallery of a new room-filling set of panels called Horse Blinders. The multi-partite work is composed of canvases sprayed and painted with giant photo-montage images and fragments of illusionistic texturing, and of intermediary aluminum corner sections, also partially covered with images. A brush of electrical cable wires, knotholed wood simulations, soupy marbleized

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  • Clinton Hill

    Zabriskie Gallery

    As the basis of his sectioned acrylic painted and assembled panels, Clinton Hill, showing at the Zabriskie Gallery, uses a rather standard and unexceptional notion of relationships. Attractive though they are on first examination, his paintings manifest a single-minded decorative sensibility which never quite supersedes the level of those relationships the artist chooses to diagram in his work. Partitioned into four or five actual or painted rectangles within square or rectangular fields, the surface of each section of a canvas is softly modulated with neutralized tints (grey pinks, off-white,

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