reviews

  • William Henderson, Henry Rollins, Michael Greene, Donald Coles and Leslie Price

    Oakland Museum of California

    “Black, Untitled,” a show at the Oakland Museum, displayed the work of five black artists. All are under 30, and all live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. The show was organized by Evangeline Montgomery, consultant on black art to the Oakland Museum, and we owe her thanks for bringing us five artists who have had little exposure here. (None of the work in “Black, Untitled” has been previously exhibited.)

    William Henderson is the Expressionist of the five; he makes pictures that speak even to the viewer who has little sophistication about the visual arts. In one of his smaller pieces we

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  • Pol Bury

    University Art Museum, Berkeley and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

    We have had an interrupted show of kinetic sculpture and other works by the Belgian artist Pol Bury. Organized by the University Art Museum in Berkeley and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the show has been scheduled to open at the former institution, cross the country over a period of a year, and close at the latter. Its opening in Berkeley took place just before Richard Nixon’s Cambodian adventure. In the confusion and hysteria that followed the invasion, the Bury show was withdrawn in favor of a show of student protest posters and then, without announcement, reopened.

    It was a

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  • Billie Levy, Elizabeth Quandt, Beth van Hoesen, Louise McGinley, Leah Schwartz, Stefanie Steinberg, Jean Murray, Mercedes Smith, Sophie Van Bourg, Michelle Wyler and Mona Beaumont

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    The San Francisco Women Artists have had an annual show at the San Francisco Museum of Art for decades. At times it has degenerated into the worst kind of Sunday painters’ event; in recent years, however, and certainly in the latest show, the forty-third, it has been far better than that.

    Presumably the organization and its shows had as their original purpose applying some collective leverage to gain exhibition space and publicity at a time when women artists were more discriminated against than they are now. Things have changed, a little. This show includes the work of several artists who are

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  • Paul Sarkisian

    Michael Walls Gallery

    At the Michael Walls Gallery we have had a show of four paintings by Paul Sarkisian, a Los Angeles artist who recently lived for a time in northern California. Using photographs and an airbrush, Sarkisian produces a kind of realism that is disquieting because for one reason or another you cannot step into the picture. On the other hand, his canvases are so large and so finely detailed that he brings a part of his world into the gallery.

    The most recent painting, executed this year, shows an abandoned house. The painting is almost 17 feet wide and is done in black and a cream color that suggests

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  • Esteban Villa

    Galeria de la Raza

    A new art gallery, devoted to the work of artists of Hispanic descent and culture, has opened in San Francisco’s Mission District, in space formerly occupied by the studio of artist and filmmaker Fred Hobbs. The new establishment is the Galeria de la Raza, and is named for the Mexican-American minority in the southwestern United States, who call themselves la raza, “the race.” The Spanish-speaking population of San Francisco is concentrated largely in the Mission District, and the gallery’s location there suggests an intention to foster consciousness of Hispanic culture primarily among the

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  • Sam Tchakalian

    An impressive show of paintings by Sam Tchakalian recently took place at the San Francisco Art Institute, where the artist teaches. In the past Tchakalian has shown yellow paintings; in this show his palette is considerably larger, but each painting is in a single color. They are massive rectangles (several pieces consist of more than one rectangle), usually wider than they are high, ranging up to 20 feet in width; 15 pieces completely filled a sizeable gallery.

    The paintings work so well together, and the show was so well installed in the Emanuel Walter Gallery of the SFAI’s new building, that

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  • Clayton Gorder

    William Sawyer Gallery

    At the William Sawyer Gallery, Clayton Gorder showed an extraordinary group of stripe paintings on shaped canvases. It would be implausible to proclaim the appearance of another Gene Davis, but Gorder is certainly operating somewhere above the talented-graduate-student level at which so many professional artists in the Bay Area are content to stay. These are remarkably free and airy compositions, and they raise my spirits. The appearance of Clayton Gorder is good news for the local art scene, and his work itself is a source of exhilaration and good cheer.

    Jerome Tarshis

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  • Bonnie Sherk and Howard Levine

    James Lick Freeway, Maiden Lane, Mission Street

    In San Francisco, but outside its museums and galleries, there was a most unusual traveling exhibition, entitled “Portable Park Project 1-3,” in which turf, palm trees, and livestock were set down for brief periods at three unlikely places. The first portable park was installed on a dead-end portion of the James Lick Freeway. Twenty-four hours later the turf was rolled up and the park reinstalled at a freeway off-ramp not far away. This time passersby could stop without danger, and many ate lunch at the park’s picnic tables.

    After 24 hours in this location, the park was removed for a two-day

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