The exhibition of Five Artists (Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Ron Cooper, John McCracken, and De Wain Valentine) at Ace has been nicknamed “The Black Show.” None of the pieces is really black, but all manage, albeit circumspectly, to say something about it. Alexander’s work, for instance, comprises his familiar resin bars hung in a horizontal row; this time they’re squat, about a foot wide by six times as high, and, instead of the ethereal melon colors or pearl essences he usually employs, they’re black . . . well, dark gray. The shallow, bell-curve cross section produces those fuzzy edges (at the long edges, the resin is thinner, therefore gradually lighter in transparency) and the things “lift” off the wall. But hold it. On further inspection, they don’t lift but vacillate between that and sinking into “holes” (therefore negatives, therefore black) in the wall. This effect and the more
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