reviews

  • Craig Kauffman

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    Craig Kauffman, one of the first major artists of the “L.A. Look”—involved in prettiness, plastics and the nether-land between sculpture and painting—is shown in a mini-retrospective which brackets him from the time he hit his groove until opening night. It’s informative for a viewpoint admittedly fashioned on a fractional and disIt’s informative for a viewpoint admit- associated acquaintance, but it hasn’t turned me around. Some pieces look better in the enlarged context, and some look worse, but the canned lushness and dustless craft are still not much more than clever and painstaking (which,

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  • Richard Serra

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    Richard Serra’s piece, Sawing, was a bona fide sensation. It was made of twelve red and white fir logs, approximately four feet in diameter and 22 feet in length, sliced twice, each making two eight-foot and one six-foot segments. The total configuration is 36 pieces in three rows of twelve laid down close together with the central row elevated ten inches on a 20 ton concrete base. The whole layout is roughly diagonal across the rounded, white room, and is seen from floor level (although the artist requested some raised viewing platforms to be built).

    The giant log sculpture is context art. It

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  • Robert Morris

    Irving Blum Gallery

    Robert Morris’s two sculptures are not much to look at, but quite a bit to think about (which is Morris’s continuing point). Horizontal Spill involves two dozen pieces of heavy lumber stacked, jacked, then spilled over; the location of the wood after the crash, plus the shade-tree lifting mechanism is the visible result. Vertical Spill is four similar but shorter boards similarly dumped, only from the butt end of the stack. The pieces can be apprehended on several levels. As configurations, objets d’art, escorted by associations of traditional sculpture (up to Caro), they are awkwardly powerful,

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  • Alexander Calder

    Long Beach Museum of Art

    Alexander Calder’s recent gouaches could be a) so bad they’re good, or b) so bad they’re bad. At any rate, there is a strange, convincing meatiness about the exhibition which, by comparison, makes most La Cienega shows look browbeaten into slickness, The exhibition shows a major artist doing minor, recreational, out-of-medium works; it exudes eccentricity: Calder obviously believes himself a “master” with a “touch” which will transform minimal manual labor into real art, and he has, over the past several years, ripped off a bunch of awkward, sharp, raw paintings in bright colors (primaries and

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  • Agnes Martin

    Nicholas Wilder Gallery

    Nicholas Wilder has come upon a vein of small, solid shows, each just a few nicely installed (hung low) items, and Agnes Martin’s paintings constitute another one. Miss Martin exhibits five works, moderately sized and biased to the vertical, and each one transcends a spartan surface incident and becomes, really, quite moving.

    Number one is a gessoed surface with a green pencil-line, horizontally proportioned grid. Number two is more heavily underpainted; the horizontal line motif is repeated, top to bottom, with segments of three lines about an inch apart, alternated with a segment about two and

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