reviews

  • Tony Berlant

    Mizuno Gallery

    Literature, if it was ever away, is back. My impression of this, however, may be complicated by a misreading of things: I never saw work like Tony Berlant’s as that Surrealistic, or even Surrealistic at all. When he was doing the laminated clothes things, I took it as a delayed-beat Pop, with undertones of the kind of modern academic pictorial structure one seemed to pick up while getting degrees at UCLA (they still do). When he started the houses—the larger, plain, glossy metal ones—I thought he was simply going with the tide, Pop-into-Minimal, with a marketable bow in the right direction to

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  • Marvin Harden

    Eugenia Butler Gallery

    In a dozen intricate pencil drawings, Marvin Harden’s personal inventory is a good deal more cohesive, mechanically simple, detailed, but, at least for nrie, less expressive. At this early point, at the risk of overstepping some critical and possibly ethical bounds, I would note that Harden is black, while I am white, and that we are acquaintances. Moreover, Harden is actively conscious of his color and its history, and I find myself, concurrently, slowly sliding away from pseudo-objectivism i.e., “just show me the stuff and don’t tell me about who did it” toward a more contextual set, i.e.,

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  • Badajos

    Molly Barnes Gallery

    Badajos has been the cartoonist for the Los Angeles Free Press since the wonderful Ron Cobb went away. He draws a lot like Cobb, but with less restraint vis-à-vis the graphic temptations of doing psychedelic Plasticman. On the Freep, eschewing a doper’s Surrealism would be the hard road, since a good deal of the readership (little tie-dyed hoppers walking barefoot through the winos’ spit and broken tokay bottles on the way to and from the Pasadena Kazoo bookstore, with a copy of Rolling Stone, or an ecology poster probably demands it. Nevertheless, his panels are good—placement, black-and-white,

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  • Tom Wudl

    Eugenia Butler Gallery

    Tom Wudl’s pictures at Eugenia Butler are pretty good; but, in a style where “just-rightness” is needed to bring the thing off (a plain two dimensional object posing as something significant), pretty good might not be enough. Wudl uses large (five or six feet square), unseamed sheets of heavy photo paper, hung by a wooden rod run through a loop at the top, on which he applies either copper, silver, or gold leaf. The leafing comes in small sheets, so the appliqué results in a subtle, slightly juggled, slanting grid, and the leaf is so thin, that it leaves, purposefully or not, little scuffs and

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