reviews

  • Priscilla Colt, Stephen Prokopoff, Pat Sands, Alan Cote, Gary Hudson and Clement Greenberg

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    The first impression that one gains of Marcia Tucker’s survey, “The Structure of Color,” at the Whitney Museum, is that it is handsome and winning but, very quickly, nettlesome issues creep in and attach themselves to the enterprise, at last revoking the initial good impression into one of caution and doubt. First, there is the competitive memory of several color shows of these past two years—Priscilla Colt’s “Color and Field,” Stephen Prokopoff’s “Two Generations of Color Painting,” Pat Sands’ “Color” among still others, not to mention Clement Greenberg’s “Post-Painterly Abstraction,” which

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  • William Baziotes

    Marlborough | Midtown

    1946–1962 is loose usage to identify William Baziotes’ “late works.” This exhibition in fact presents an expert selection of Baziotes’ mature work which, when it came into its own, shortly before the end of the second World War, remained remarkably constant until his death. Because of his reliance on a certain kind of figuration, Baziotes’ work at the end of his life became alien to the nature of late-40s field-surfacing, the character of which admittedly had been affected by his own contributions. Essentially sweeter than either Rothko or Still, whose positions Baziotes’ work seems to bridge,

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  • Dan Christensen, Peter Young, William Crozier, David Budd, and Jo Baer

    Emmerich Gallery, Goldowky Gallery

    I suppose that what we see in Dan Christensen’s new work must be regarded as an attempt not to fall into the effusive and lyric mannerisms of color painting as it approached the end of the decade. But, in avoiding the pitfalls of “thick field” and “lyrical abstraction” I am uncertain as to whether Christensen has not fallen into still another kind of trap. In the past year Christensen has articulated a color painting which is frankly submissive to traditional field presentation. Frontal, planar, tectonically structured, Christensen’s paintings today are as radically opposed to his own work of

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  • David von Schlegell

    Reese Palley Gallery

    David von Schlegell has changed in several respects. His earlier wing-like biomorphism was rendered even more intense through the induction of kinetic possibilities. This position has now been abandoned in favor of Constructivist giganticism. In a pragmatic sense von Schlegell also may be said to have moved, from the small enclosure of the Royal Marks Gallery to the huge exhibition floors of Reese Palley. One would have thought that the new locale would have served his work better. What is curious about Soho as an exhibition and studio area is the amount of color it imbues to works produced

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  • Julius Tobias

    Hutchinson Gallery

    Julius Tobias’ work had been so roundly execrated, with justice, that perhaps a favorable word will be indulged. Clearly, these floor arrangements are unthinkable without Carl Andre, yet their withering dependency aside, there is something intriguing in the way cement elements are angled into the floor. They catch narrow shadows beneath them which suggests that shallow obliqueness may be a piercing sculptural possibility. This shift in expression moves away from Andre-like declarativeness and makes one aware that sculptural interest need not be derived from the duplication of the floor plane

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  • Willard Midgette

    Frumkin Gallery

    It is too tempting to dismiss out of hand Willard Midgette’s painted environment called “The Loft.” That it is a representational painting is a neutral fact; that its ambitiousness is so much a function of its pretentiousness indicates that it is still a student-like conception, which may in fact be its most admirable feature. Through neat interlocking canvases set at unusual angles and illusionistically painted, Midgette transformed the gallery into a dark loft walk-up: artfully abutted illusions of walls, figures in space, reflections, pictures on easels and pictures painted to give the

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  • Bruce Nauman

    Castelli Gallery | Uptown

    None of the art that I’ve seen that purports to deal with “information” has really seemed to answer the question as to the meaning of this term in reference to experience. Yet this would seem to be an important question because “information” already appears to be wavering between being a concept and being something vaguely experienced; and the reification of information which contemporary technology is bringing about clothes the notion with certain assumptions about the nature of the perceiving subject, most dangerously, perhaps, that the perceiver’s own nature is not or should not be an issue

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  • Robert Ryman

    Fischbach Gallery and Dwan Gallery

    Robert Ryman’s white paintings at Fischbach have no space in them, but the exhibition that they comprise has a marvelous feeling of depth to it owing to the fact that it changes as one spends time with it. On entering one sees an array of paintings, all of them in white on gessoed canvas, one wall being unlighted, and they all look alike except for their sizes. But before long they begin to sort themselves out until each canvas appears as a distinct deviation from their original appearance of consistent whiteness. Pure white then comes to seem like an abstraction, something approachable only as

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  • Jack Tworkov

    French & Co. and The Whitney Museum

    At French and Co. and at the Whitney Museum, Jack Tworkov showed a series of paintings done during the past three years or so which resist a systematic reading. At French there were three paintings hung on one wall that seemed to form a beautiful progression: the first had a drawn grid of squares and parallelograms emerging from a field of spiky green strokes on a red ground. The second brought the grid up so close to the surface that only one complete figure, a parallelogram leaning right, remained while the strokes became dense and showed just a few traces of a light green ground. In the third

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  • Jack Youngerman

    Pace | 32 East 57th Street

    Jack Youngerman’s recent work at Pace shows him retracing steps and stumbling a bit into virgin territory. Apparently while continuing his experiments at designing figures to be subtracted from grounds, Youngerman began thinking about how the edges of his canvases might be used to clinch the ambiguity of figure and ground and of figuration and abstraction. His latest solution is the shaped canvas; in addition to rectangles, he is now making circular, elliptical, and mandorla-shaped paintings which tend to attenuate what formerly seemed to be the seriousness of his work.

    One of the circular

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  • Richard Smith

    Feigen Gallery

    Richard Smith is one of those artists on whom one stakes hopes; the artist who first made both the shaped surface and serial canvases work together must have other great things in mind. Unfortunately, such things aren’t manifested in his latest show at Feigen. What appears to be happening in these paintings is that the shaped surfaces are being made to carry into real space the gesture implied by painterly strokes on the surface. Thus in Rule of Thumb the arching suggested by a mass of dark strokes in a blue field is realized as the bottom edge of the canvas is brought up and forward, making

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  • Joan Snyder, Michael Venezia, Howard Buchwald and Alan Sondheim

    Bykert Gallery

    In the Bykert group, Joan Snyder’s paintings are so sensuous and assertive that they simply seduce one away from the other paintings in the show. She seems to be getting at anti-formal uses of color and impasto without resorting to the momentum of strokes. Patches of pigment are simply placed on the surface where they soak in or drip until the whole canvas gets the look of having been rained on. One of the nice things about Snyder’s paintings is that one can’t tell how much control she is exercising over what happens in them. In the larger of the two, she has incorporated a drawn band of rectangles

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  • Manny Farber

    O.K. Harris Gallery

    There are no apparent loose ends to jar the initial impression of refined color and texture in Manny Farber’s paintings at O.K. Harris. They appear very smooth at first with no gaucheries that might yield new discoveries. Farber builds his paint surfaces out of brown kraft paper, joined together with paper tape. He coats the paper heavily on both sides with acrylic to preserve and stiffen it, a process that gives it the feel of heavy parchment. The works are small enough (approximately 6 by 8 feet) to be encompassed by the viewer, rather than enveloping him. Most of the paintings are non-rectangular.

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  • Harvey Quaytman

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    Harvey Quaytman is more hopelessly hung up in the mystique of shaping than Manny Farber. His paintings have almost relinquished their claim to sculptural relief, but they are still dogged by the characteristic squared-off ‘U’ shape he has attempted to mobilize for at least two years. About a year ago, he almost succeeded—by stretching the ‘U’ into a long, lazy band with real texture on its surface and dull, earthy coloring. Now it is shoved as an afterthought against the bottom of rectangular canvases to which it bears only an artificial structural relationship: the adjoining lower edge of each

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  • Murray Reich

    Max Hutchinson Gallery

    A repeated emblem doesn’t have to go flat as it has for Quaytman. Variations within a familiar context can be made to matter. Rothko, end Morris Louis in his “Unfurleds” succeeded. And Murray Reich is beginning to infuse some of his huge, icon-like paintings with visual dynamism. The central, phallic form he has painted for several years is still too dominant to allow increasing activity on the sides of his canvases to participate fully, but it is beginning to.

    In his show at Max Hutchinson, the central image has changed from a strip-poured reflection on blank canvas, overly reminiscent of Louis,

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  • Laddie John Dill

    Sonnabend Gallery

    Laddie John Dill’s first one-man show of sculpture at Sonnabend suffers from finesse. It includes three light pieces on the wall and two works on the floor that use sand, light and glass. Dill started as a painter and he is still preoccupied with qualities associated with painting. He learned about artificial light sources when lighting his earlier paintings and has now come up with argon gas tubes whose differently coated sections create multicolored bands of light. He uses them in simple wall pieces intended as straight color trips. The color is more refined and delicate than any I’ve seen

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  • Frederick John Eversley

    Glenn Gallery

    Frederick John Eversley’s recent exhibition of cast resin sculpture at the Jack Glenn Gallery embodies for me most of the vices of high-class Los Angeles plastic light art.

    The bulk of the exhibition consisted of a number of centrifugally cast-plastic resin discs, approximately two feet in diameter and six to eight inches thick. These discs were of several configurations, rather like lenses. One configuration was a double concave lens producing a powerful reducing effect as the eight-inch rim thickness diminished to an inch or less in the center. Another configuration was plano-concave—one surface

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