reviews

  • Allen Ruppersberg

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    Allen Ruppersberg’s show at PAM is the worst exhibition I’ve seen since assuming this Letter. Since my opinion is so extreme, and since criticism of specific artists is a different human proposition from passing judgments on best-selling novels or boffo movies, I will try extra hard to make my reasons clear, and to reach some conclusions about the mechanism which produced the show. The exhibition is one of “sculptural-environmental situations” and some of the most salient are these: 1) a 260-sheet wall piece consisting of, in a top horizontal row, the whole English alphabet a letter to a page

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  • Claes Oldenburg

    UCLA Art Galleries

    Claes Oldenburg is simply a magnificent draftsman. Sure, the ideas are clever, succinct, fertile and cheerful, but if Oldenburg couldn’t draw like a goddamned bandit, those ideas would be merely insightful. It’s Oldenburg’s drawing—loose, tactile, economic and deliciously painterly and/or sculptural—which turns them into works of art. This short report is not adequate to detail what makes Oldenburg head and shoulders above everybody from Wyeth to Rosenquist as a draftsman. Suffice it to say for the time that Oldenburg has a terribly fortunate combination of natural talent, experience (the

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  • Robert Irwin

    The Artist’s Premises

    Robert Irwin’s exhibition, like the shows reported above, indicates a change in the Los Angeles art situation: an internationally known local artist chooses to show his new sculpture in his own untitled premises outside the gallery establishment. This seems to me not a repudiation of the galleries but simply another stone in another art scene, outside the galleries.

    Irwin’s new work consists of two identical columns, each about 12 feet tall, fashioned (and that is the right word) from clear acrylic plastic. The pieces are a little less than a foot wide, a few inches deep and resemble in cross-section

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  • Temple Street Artists

    Long Beach Museum of Art

    The Long Beach Museum of Art commendably attempts to plug the gaps with hand-made corks, and its exhibition of Temple Street Artists is commendable in many ways. Mostly, it’s friendly, based on a communal (Temple Street near downtown is as loaded with studios as Venice) rather than formalist or historical theme; more than that, it’s quite sentimental in its acceptance of buddyism as an esthetic binder (there is some of that: small-scale, funkiness, Surrealism). The trouble is that, with the exception of Terry O’Shea and one or two others, the quality is unbelievably bad—a little more hairy than

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  • Donald LeWallen and Dennis Ashbaugh

    Jack Glenn Gallery

    Late last spring, Jack Glenn, a businessman transplanted from Kansas City, opened his gallery in Corona del Mar, a sun, fun and surf community south of Los Angeles. Eschewing La Cienega Boulevard as too smoggy and about to be bisected by a freeway, Glenn felt that anyone wishing to buy the sort of art he handles wouldn’t mind the hour’s drive from Los Angeles. Glenn’s Gallery is a bit of chic appreciated by the California south of Los Angeles—hip deep gray carpet-ing and beige suede cloth on the walls to which pictures are attached by Velcro strips. Esthetically, the gallery has the flavor of

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  • William Tunberg, Laddie Dill, Allan McCollum, Andrea Brown and Mary Kutila

    California State College

    The “Venice, California” exhibition has been organized by Josine lanco, ex-director of the late Lytton Center of the Visual Arts. William Tunberg is a fetish builder, combining sexual funk and other odd bits of urban detritus, fake fruit, eggs, shoes, etc., etc., within boxes of “display stands” finished in the true hot rod manner with silky smooth pearlescent surfaces. Tunberg’s work relates to both San Francisco and Los Angeles esthetics, but has never been very well received here. His craftsmanship is impeccable and he is perhaps most successful in the pieces which do not emphasize either

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