new-york

Tony Smith, Group Show at Paula Cooper Gallery, Sam Francis, and Larry Zox

Having an exhibition at Knoedler’s seven years after your first one-man show must be like coming out leather-bound soon after becoming a paperback. This TONY SMITH has done, showing works from 1962 onwards—most of them centering on 1969. There seems to be an attempt to style him a genius along the lines of, say, David Smith, but much of Tony’s work—in fact the large body of it—simply doesn’t measure up to David’s. Some of these works are a hell of a lot bigger than David Smith’s, but that is actually part of the problem: Tony Smith is good at proportion but pretty shaky on scale. Basically, he makes what could be described as miniature blow-ups, the final maneuver presumably being arranging the commissions to actually “blow” them “up.” When the maquette would not suffice, full-sized plywood mock-ups (which themselves lose in density by their too arbitrary enormity) present themselves as

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