reviews

  • “Color”

    UCLA Art Gallery

    “Color” at UCLA is a curious affair: on one hand it appears a can’t-miss overture—half a dozen manufacturers of chromatic delectation, a collection of paintings and a catalog both hip, scholarly and decorative in the extreme; on the other, it is tepid and disjointed. The reasons for this negative element lie partly in the mechanics behind the show and partly in the exhibition itself. The acknowledgement states that the exhibition is an educational exercise: ten graduate students assigned themselves six artists, gathered the show, and wrote the appropriate catalog essays. As with novels by

    Read more
  • Dan Christensen

    Nicholas Wilder Gallery

    A more modest, but more nourishing précis of color bolts the scaffolding of Dan Christensen’s new work. Christensen, the senior member of a Kansas City color-painter group, has made an abrupt transition from his previous canvases employing ropy, colored lines sprayed onto intensely chromatic grounds. These seven moderately sized, glossy, medium-thick(creamy) paintings of color-blocks, framed in the singular gold edge of the late ’50s, have a flavor possibly describable as Neo-Post-Painterly Abstraction: while everybody else is going bigger, rawer, bubblier, Christensen cuts against the grain—smaller,

    Read more
  • Carl Andre

    ACE Gallery

    Carl Andre’s unitary exhibition is likewise cheerful, if you’ve a weakness for Blue Collar Minimal. The piece is comprised of four cold rolled steel “rugs” stationed flush in the corners of a 30 foot square room, leaving a cross-aisle six feet wide on each leg. Each module of the rugs is 24 inches square and each rug runs six modules in either direction. Since the door is in the corner, one must walk on the piece to enter. (In a 1968 Antwerp show, most viewers were intimidated; at Documenta, a lengthy “lever” was promptly trampled.)

    I noticed these effects: the piece, constructed as it was for

    Read more
  • Laurence Dreiband

    David Stuart Galleries

    After some post-Hassel Smith and John Altoon meandering, David Stuart seems to have gotten back a bag: slick figure painting—Mel Ramos, Robert Harvey (perhaps Llyn Foulkes, though he paints rocks), and now Laurence Dreiband. Dreiband’s subjects are modified beaver girls whose poses connote both coprophilia and friendly candor; the models are featured in two modes: solid ground with a “stripe” of the ground crossing the figure, or with slice-of-vida-buena accoutrement (chair, swimming pool, binding rope). Dreiband’s technique is a conglomerate of staining, scratching, airbrushing, straight,

    Read more
  • John Baldessari

    Eugenia Butler Gallery

    Since we already have had paintingas-painting, objects-as-painting, photos-of-objects-as-painting, ideas-of-objects-as-painting, photos-of-ideas-of-objects-as-painting, and paintings-of-ideas-of-objects-as-painting, John Baldessari came up with ideas-of-paintings-of-photos-of-ideas-of-objects-as-painting. I tender the specs: oil paintings commissioned by John Baldessari (“the San Diego concept artist”—The L.A. Times), about three by four feet, depicting, with margin, in the upper portion, tromp-l’oeil paintings of fingers pointing—to a broken lattice, light bulbs in situ, a greasy burner, etc.

    Read more
  • “Dimensions of Black”

    La Jolla Museum

    “Dimensions of Black” is a curious. sprawling exhibition documenting the work of black artists both contemporary and historical. It was organized in a major group effort by Jehanne Teilhet, an Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of California, San Diego, and a large number of students, black and white, from the University. Teilhet and her students raised about $40,000.00 for the exhibition from private and foundation sources, selected the work, assisted in the installation, and wrote much of the catalog (which at this writing has yet to be published).

    The general premise of the

    Read more
  • Billy Al Bengston

    Mizuno Gallery

    Billy Al Bengston’s exhibition at the Mizuno Gallery is his first since a major retrospective exhibition of his work was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1968. The installation of the County Museum exhibition was so arranged as to destroy Bengston’s paintings as objects of Kunstwissenschaft. The present exhibition’s presentation heightens the sense of mystique one felt at the County Museum. Of the dozen or so works exhibited, all but three could be seen only by candlelight, a makeshift gesture with makeshift candelabra which serves here only to obscure the luxuriousness of

    Read more
  • Donald Eddy

    Molly Barnes

    Donald Eddy is a figurative painter, a “new realist” who airbrushes his paintings. For the past several years Eddy has been living in Hawaii, and this exhibition deals with the old people, retired or on vacation, who frequent the islands. Like the work of Joseph Raffael of a few years ago, Eddy isolates his forms and figures against a white grounds, although Eddy’s paintings deal with only one object and are not juxtapositions of disparate forms. The old people serve as foils for the objects within their environments, although these objects (picnic tables, park benches, automobiles) would seem

    Read more