reviews

  • Jules Olitski

    Rubin Gallery

    Jules Olitski’s new paintings at Rubin, like most of his earlier spray paintings, seem to deal with the nature of the presence of color. The sense arising from these paintings has been that color does not attain to its authentic presence outside painting because there is no other context in which its abstractness, which has an element of ideality about it, can be secured and used. It is probably the history of painting itself which has taught us to see the colors of things as either contained by them or as adherent to them; if so, then the claim of painting to the raw presence of color makes

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  • Ralph Humphreys

    Emmerich Gallery

    For all their straightforward beauty, Olitski’s paintings look tough and remote next to the ones Ralph Humphrey showed at Emmerich. After seeing the auroral drift of light through Olitski’s paintings, Humphrey’s day-glo wavelets are hard to take seriously. After a series of paintings which were quite spare and tense in their evocation of light, Humphrey has in the past year or so returned to using larger undulating strips of color and to shaping his canvases into tondos, kidneys and such. In the Emmerich show, a number of the canvases have also been sprayed lightly at the edges giving the sense

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  • Richard Diebenkorn

    Poindexter Gallery

    At Poindexter Richard Diebenkorn showed a series of drawings in gouache, charcoal, and ink which consolidated a whole range of esthetic cues to be found in work such as Franz Kline’s and Eva Hesse’s. The drawings are clearly related to the “Ocean Park” series of paintings, some of which comprised Diebenkorn’s last show here, and two of which were on hand with the drawings. The interest of the “Ocean Park” series seemed to be in drawing within painting, that is, with identifying the possibility of figuration with a certain technique, and then asserting the sensuous priority of paint and the

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  • Films, etc.

    Finch College Museum of Art

    The Finch College Museum presented a grab-bag of ideas, images, and documented works in the form of slides, films and video tapes. The most interesting part of the show was comprised by the films, which included Smithson’s Spiral Jetty movie, the recording of Dennis Oppenheim’s Stock Exchange event, and Oldenburg’s Sort of a Commercial for an Icebag, the film made by Gemini explaining the ancestry of the giant icebag multiple. The slides were of artists, most of them still living, and their work; 75 really not very instructive in any way, they are sort of the art world equivalent of baseball

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  • Roy Lichtenstein

    Castelli Gallery

    The tenacity with which Roy Lichtenstein has remained attached to the premises of classic Pop ideology is staggering, not so much because he is the last of the grand Pop masters to do so, but because he is the only one who demonstrates that there is still vital are to be mined from this vein which has seemed barren for at • least seven years now. The central proposition of Pop was the substitution of a commercial visual convention for an experienced sensory episode think, for example, of the metallic glints of the ewers of Vermeer and how they might be transmitted as pseudo-linecut on

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  • Mel Bochner

    112 Greene Street Gallery

    Mel Bochner is dedicated to precision and cleanness, preoccupations which have led to the utilization of set theory, mathematics and linguistic structure as the brute matter of his art. In his present environment, a theoretical demonstration of a representative Soho space, Bochner has loosened his vocabulary by taking certain liberties, the broadest perhaps being that the working module—the distance between the centers of two parallel structural columns, 11’10“—is established as an act of free choice The axiomatic decision is marked upon the floor in white tape and it is then presented in the

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  • David Novros

    Bykert Gallery

    About two years ago I wrote about David Novros’s paintings as if they were sculpture, a misapprehension elicited by the substance—acrylic lacquer on fiberglass—in which he then worked. This view proved irksome to the artist, although the subsequent evolution of Novros’s work tends to bear me out. Species-issue aside, I was not at all wrong about the superiority and uniqueness of Novros’s sense of color, a gift which had been visible in his work from the congruent templates of his Minimalist-serial mode to the no longer completely systematized “L”s of 1968 which had been the cause of my doubtful

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  • Clinton Hill

    Zabriskie Gallery

    Clinton Hill, for example, paints another version of the understated ascetic tradition within rectangular abstraction. But it seems incidental to this ultimate ambition that his new painting should make so much of the substance upon which his acrylic has been applied—fiberglass sheeting, softened and subtly modeled and rendered as barely liminal yet highly intrusive texture. It may be that Hill is exploiting the fibrous nature of his material by way of demonstrating its peculiarities although the maculation and graininess point to the tradition of the now-neglected collages of Ann Ryan, not to

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  • Terence La Noue

    Paley and Lowe Gallery

    The critical issues of the revival of Abstract Expressionism which mark- ed the conclusion of the Sixties continue to erupt in the fresh art of the Seventies. Essential to that revival is the objectified painting whose very tangibility is underscored by the vast amount of prefabricated environmental detritus incorporated into its body. Clearly Terence La Noue, whose talented if decorative production I was only able to signal in passing last year, relies heavily on the now seemingly-prescient efforts of Keith Sonnier and the late Eva Hesse as well as two solid years of what I have called Thick

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  • Susan Crile

    Kornblee Gallery

    In the middle of a welter of conflicted positions Susan Crile reverses the argument made in terms of Terrence La Noue. Her reluctance to choose between representationalism and abstraction leads her to an imagery based on the motifs of the weaving of Persian carpets. The solution, and it is an interesting one, entails flirting with the polemics of the picture plane in a naive way. But the innocence as yet is insufficient evidence to dismiss her painting. Frontality and two-dimensionality are eschewed in favor of the illusion of pile-bucklings and fringed overlappings. The hand is tremulous but

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  • Jo Baer

    School of Visual Arts

    Twelve paintings by Jo Baer suspend time and create their own silence at the gallery of the School of Visual Arts. These are early paintings done in 1962–63. Their basic format is simple: a six-foot white square echoed by black bands about four inches wide, placed several inches in from the outer edge of the canvas. A narrow blue border rims the inside edge of the black on all sides except the top. Variation in the paintings occurs at the top, where blue banding is used in simple patterns that create surprisingly strong differences in the feel of each canvas. The black band also fluctuates in

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  • Rosemarie Castoro

    Tibor de Nagy Gallery

    The desire to command three-dimensional space is not enough to do it, nor is mere energy sufficient to create dynamic drawings, nor does making drawings eight feet high on curved screens automatically turn them into sculpture. There are too many assumptions in the works of Rosemarie Castoro that only rarely become operational. Her freestanding “walls” claim space but actually occupy it, according to their premises, in only one case.

    The pieces in her show at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery are constructed either of hinged masonite panels supported by a grid of two by twos, or of hollow-core doors.

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  • Gary Kuehn

    Fischbach Gallery

    Gary Kuehn’s sculpture at the Fischbach Gallery is as elusive and gestural as drawing. His means are so unassuming that the work is almost mute. Four small pieces in the show each invoke a linear, curving motion. They are no more than two or three feet at their tallest, and three or four feet at the widest. They are made of rusted C-clamps, pieces of iron pipe, an iron wheel rim, an open-ended box welded together of rusty iron, and aluminum bands or flashing. The aluminum is strapped around the iron forms and held by the clamps. The strips are raised slightly so they cast shadow reflections of

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  • Frank Owen

    French and Company

    Frank Owen submitted himself to a gimmick in his paintings. He has evolved a complex means of creating aurora borealis-like bands of many colors by partially mixing viscous acrylic pigment so that discrete colors still show when the paint is poured and spread slowly on canvas. The effect is reminiscent of the marbled interiors of old book covers. It is often very beautiful, but so domineering that Owen has difficulty conveying much beyond it. He does attempt to change the look of his paintings by varying the colors from strident combinations using a lot of white to predominantly black mixes. In

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  • William T. Williams

    Reese Palley Gallery

    William T. Williams’ new paintings at Reese Palley are filled with such wild, angry energy, they look like Frank Stella nightmares. Williams is trying to get away from the strong, superficial resemblances his imagery and technique have to Stella’s, but the white-bordered, intensely colored, mechanical-drawing shapes still appear to be takeoffs on Stella. Now, pearlized paint, Looney Tunes color, serpentine squiggles, tooth-like small triangles, all work to change the look of the paintings.

    There is most action in the largest, latest painting in the show, a group of eight panels, four of them

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  • Whistler and His World

    Wildenstein and Co.

    The show, “Whistler and his World,” is an inconclusive one, as it would have had to be. In the whole of art history there cannot have been a more complex period than the last third of the 19th century, principally because, as I have tried to suggest several times before, the revivalism and historical syncretism that had taken on such a central function in both style and subject matter in the later 18th century, and had never really died out, even in important painting, resurfaced in even more virulent form in the later 19th century. And because it is characteristic of an historicist approach

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  • Henri Laurens

    New York Cultural Center

    It was a very fine idea of the New York Cultural Center to hold a retrospective of the work of Henri Laurens, but to tell the truth, it wasn’t an especially good representation ofhis output. I know this is an oddity, since what the show consisted of was the donation of the Laurens estate to the French government, but there it is. At any rate the show afforded an entirely adequate chance to review what Laurens did—for the first time, I believe, in this country—and that made it very welcome. Laurens was not by any means a great sculptor, but he was intelligent, sensitive, and serious; and since,

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  • Sanford Gifford

    Hirschl and Adler Galleries

    One by one the American painters of the 19th century are being given a play. No doubt the pressures of the market are partly responsible for this, but only partly: in every field of art, secondary figures are being studied as those of the first rank seem, from so much acquaintance, to have less to offer. Personally, I think this is an excellent development one learns about 16th-century Roman painting not only from Raphael, but also from Perino and Polidoro, let’s say. I also have come to think that one measure of the quality of an artistic tradition, style, school or approach is its ability to

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  • Group Show

    Duane Street Gallery

    So many pieces of work by somany young artists are exhausting and confusing to the viewer and degrading to the artists. One is presented at Duane Street with a Sears Roebuck catalog of third generation rehash of second generation modern figuration. The incessant drawing and working through of modernist pictorial concepts, such as those of Giacometti, Rodin, Picasso, Modigliani, and recently, Balthus and Hans Hofmann, is a connecting thread in all the work. Another thread is the general post-Cezanne surface consciousness. Surface is the prime concern, after which comes subject matter, level of

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  • Landscape Painting

    First Street Gallery

    Again the desire to produce finished looking paintings seems to dominate the show “Landscape Painting” at the First Street Gallery. Everyone has taken some approach to nature and painted it. The paintings are for the most part strong and European influenced. Taken together they appear too finished to be developing. But that is inherent in a show of one piece per artist. While the roots are in the 19th and 20th-century masters, there is more physical directness in both seeing and painting here than in the works at Duane Street.

    There is a definite compositional sensibility to the American scene

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  • Temma Bell

    Bowery Gallery

    Temma Bell paints a very strong modernist figuration within a decorative (in the French sense) picture. She sees everything in her world as possible for inclusion in her painting, indoors and out, objects and people. She has a strong sense of composition and her color is handled with bold intensity. She creates an exciting and believable real space in one roofscape and in a still life with pumpkin and dog. The use of animals in her pictures as both figuration and symbol is sensitive and just. There is a sense of love for daylight and life which floods her work to give something poetic to the

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  • Laura Shechter

    Green Mountain Gallery

    Laura Shechter’s clearly painted still lifes, landscapes, and buildings are again an approach to the surface of the canvas which says these are pictures, self-consciously mapped out and filled in. Everything is drawn out as composition first and then colored in locally with clear chromatic hues. (Her pictures have the look of some Italian paintings of the ’40s.) When she deals with still life problems of object relationships in space and shadow as subject matter, she either ignores the complexity of actual light in shadow areas or denies the solidity or space of the objects from which the shadows

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