reviews

  • John Marin

    M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

    I have just seen the John Marin retrospective at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, and it brought back an adolescent thought I used to have when I was growing up in the Museum of Modern Art: how awful it must feel to be an artist and know that almost everything had been done long ago by John Marin or Man Ray or somebody like that. Since then I have learned that many things really weren’t done in the olden days, but after seeing this retrospective I think I was almost right the first time. John Marin was as good as a minor artist can possibly be, and his work is consistently more pleasing and

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  • Carl Andre, Donald Judd, John McCracken, Tony Smith and Boyd Allen

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    The San Francisco Museum of Art has given us a show whose very full title is “Unitary Forms: Minimal Sculpture by Carl Andre, Don Judd, John McCracken, Tony Smith.” I suppose the general public, which has barely adjusted to Jackson Pollock, and has never heard of Eva Hesse, will find this an instructive show. The catalog essay, by Curator Suzanne Foley (who assembled the show) does its teaching job quite well.

    But, speaking for that minority of the art public which keeps up to some extent with What’s Happening, I wonder why these developments of the mid-1960s are presented to us now. Certainly

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  • George Miyasaki and Joe Overstreet

    Berkeley Gallery, Berkeley Art Center

    Another treat for the senses was provided by George Miyasaki, who showed five paintings from his Ripple Series at the Berkeley Gallery. The word “ripple” refers to the central image, a solid ellipse with concentric—if that is the word—elliptic outlines radiating from it. The colors are lavender and red, and the gradations in value are small, though not so small as to disappear, as in the work of Ad Reinhardt. Miyasaki’s work is at once geometric and voluptuous; the paintings are consciously intended to be beautiful, and they score a quiet success.

    The Berkeley Art Center has had a strong show of

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  • Joseph Raffael

    Reese Palley Gallery

    All three levels of the Gallery Reese Palley were recently devoted to a show of paintings, constructions, and collages by Joseph Raffael. The great profusion of work on display suggests that Raffael loves to make art, and also that nothing stops him. The subject matter tells us again that he is an enthusiast. A few years ago he used subjects drawn from Oriental or Near Eastern culture, executed with incredible richness. Raffael works from photographs, but the sense of texture and the emotional brilliance he produces with his brushstrokes make him a remarkably painterly realist.

    He is also remarkable

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  • John Clem Clarke

    Walls Gallery

    Another artist who succeeds in producing a visual richness far beyond that of the photographs he works from is John Clem Clarke, who has had a show at the Michael Walls Gallery. In his earlier work Clarke adapted masterpieces of the past by using photographs of the works themselves; for these paintings he used photographs of his friends arranged in the required poses.

    He makes stencils for each area of color in the picture and then applies paint with a Flit gun instead of the traditional airbrush. This note on technique is fairly important for the understanding of his more recent work, since

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  • Tom Holland

    Hansen-Fuller Gallery

    At the Hansen-Fuller Gallery we have had an impressive show of paintings in epoxy on fiberglass, and some watercolors, by Tom Holland. In the past I saw formal experiment and little else in Holland’s work, but now he is making beautiful objects whose interest goes far beyond formal titillation. Like his earlier work, these paintings, collectively entitled the Berkeley Series, offer a combination of drip painting and topology. Holland’s raised strips of fiberglass, often painted in much the same way as their background, make each piece as a whole something like sculpture.

    I used to think Holland

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  • Mercedes Gutierrez-McDermid, Calvin Tondre, Rolando Castellon, Jan Evans, Rita Yokoi and Joan Hanson

    Oakland Museum of California

    The Oakland Museum, which recently had a show by five black artists, seems to be seeking out the work of social groups that are underrepresented in museums. We have just had “Artes de la Raza,” presenting the work of 21 artists of Hispanic ancestry and culture, and a show by three women artists. Among the Chicanos, Mercedes Gutierrez-McDermid, who also happens to be a woman, was a real find. Her mixed-media construction The Definitive American Bull was a mischievously funny Rube Goldberg device, the work of a gifted humorist.

    Also worthy of special mention is Calvin Tondre, whose 18 ink drawings,

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  • Carlos Villa

    Richmond Art Center

    Carlos Villa, one of the best painters we have in the Bay Area, recently had a show at the Richmond Art Center. His canvases were not framed or even on stretchers, but were stapled to the walls of the gallery. The paint was sprayed acrylic, and other substances were attached to the canvas: large areas of feathers at the edges of the canvas, fragments of mirror, chicken bones, nails. I particularly liked The Creator’s Gaze, executed in beads, feathers, and acrylic paint.

    In many of these paintings the line carries biological overtones, and often suggests the convolutions of the brain or the

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  • Juba Solo and Joseph Geran

    The BlackMan's Art Gallery

    The BlackMan’s Art Gallery has celebrated its third anniversary with a group show representing all of the gallery’s 12 artists. The gallery was founded because of a belief that there was no place where black people could go to see their own faces and lives in works of art, and the further belief that there was no gallery where a black artist could go and receive fair treatment and philosophic understanding. Its founder was a self-taught sculptor who has discarded the name given to him, W. O. (“Bill”) Thomas, Jr., and taken the name Juba Solo.

    Although he has had little time for his own work in

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