• Richard Serra

    Ace Gallery

    Knowledge, the existentialists say, is engaged knowledge; our windows to the world, however theoretical, are specific, located points, and everything within our perceptual field, including perception itself, is in situ. When the psychological “set” involves art expectations, the absence of a separate, finished physical object directly increases the importance of the immediate environment—the closing of time, place, other people and operations. Richard Serra’s recent exhibition at Ace Gallery (comprised of a big piece similar to Sawing at PAM and several propped metal sculptures of a type previously

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  • John McLaughlin

    Felix Landau Gallery

    Perhaps plain abstract paint—a-novel, a-illusionist—is simply, these days, an undernourished form: if it’s not completely universal to begin with, it’s a little dull. But when it works, it’s wonderful. That is the wall against which John McLaughlin, our seventy-year-old hyperaustere neoplastic master keeps butting his uncompromising head. My reaction to this newest exhibition of a dozen or so small oils, all seemingly containing the primaries with black, white and grey, is ambivalently intense. One of my first experiences in a painting really dawning on me (the blue, here, pulls the grey, here,

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  • Robert Cottingham

    Molly Barnes Gallery

    While Johns plays upon the unavoidable dualism of pictorial and real elements, there is always (present) the pure illusionist alternative, using the world as a “source,” a handmaiden buttressing the picture with the aura of craft, the respectability of precision and the weight of tradition. Hardly any of us being beyond the awe of realist exercises, Cottingham not unsurprisingly wins prizes for his thing. Cottingham’s seven oils, about five by six feet each, are encapsulations of closeup sign fragments, lifted via camera from the portals of nascently delapidating shops in the six-hundred block

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  • Jasper Johns

    Irving Blum Gallery

    Moses’ show indicates a kind of stability and points out that the rapid turnover of styles is a two-way street. The short-range effect is that the parent art, barraged by progeny who have ironed out the bugs and hyped up the scale and intensity, dates quickly. The long-range effect is that, on return, the parent art looks much richer, tougher, more profound against the very backdrop of its turbine-powered children; there is a richness of imagery and technique, color and graphics, and, more or less, “meaning” unremembered before. Such is the case with Jasper Johns. If Johns is not, as the puff

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  • William Leavitt, Dieter Rot

    Eugenia Butler Gallery

    Beside quality, ideas also have character or flavor or style; Los Angeles “concept art” bears the same general relation to the New York version as did its Abstract Expressionism (Hassel Smith v. de Kooning), Pop art (Ed Ruscha v. Warhol) or Minimal (McCracken v. Morris). That is, it’s comparatively slick, facile, pretty, light (as in “light verse”) and requires a little more hardware. The concept itself is usually a bright idea predicated on one or two conundrums of real-nonreal and/or art-nonart, roughly comparable in gravity to the spy stories Graham Greene classifies as “entertainments” rather

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  • Tom Eatherton

    Pomona College Art Gallery

    Formalist environments, on the other hand, seem unburdened by literature and function with an almost automatic significance engendered by the purity of the piece. Tom Eatherton’s Rise the last environmental work in a series commissioned by Hal Glicksman before he moved on to the Corcoran, is a case in point. By means of a small passageway, one enters a darkened oval room with its curved walls adumbrated by a bluish-white backlighted CinemaScope-like “screen” of translucent cloth. The visual-kinetic illusion, which, besides a general and welcome peacefulness, seems to be the whole point of the

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  • Ed Moses

    Mizuno Gallery

    The problem of constructing an environment in more traditional formalist terms (that is, letting it look like “art”—drawing, painting, sculpture), without the conveniences of architectural purity or storekeeper allusionism, is a hard row to hoe and (if that’s what he’s about), Ed Moses has succeeded nicely. Moses is an underrated artist, admired most by a group of his more publicized peers: he’s stuck to an uncompromised pictorialism, physical austerity, and a persistent reverence for the soul of Abstract Expressionism, while everyone else has gone their own mirror-finish way. (Moses was

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