reviews

  • Five Artists

    ACE Gallery

    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

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  • Young Los Angeles Artists

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    The Young Los Angeles Artists at the County Museum are another kettle of fish. The show was staged as a satellite to “Art and Technology” to expose up-and-comers to the expected summer hordes, and was put together at the eleventh hour on, to put it lightly, an informal basis. Nevertheless, some folks thought it a “sleeper” compared with A & T, like seeing The Bicycle Thief on a double bill with Ben Hur. Several of the artists, however, thought the ‘here’s-a-wall-hang-it-yourself’ approach was exploitative of the Museum’s bottleneck power over young artists in a region notoriously overpopulated

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  • New Painting In Los Angeles

    Newport Harbor Art Museum

    New Painting In Los Angeles is very little painting, but I’m sure the straining of mechanical definition is intended to bare a) how “far” painting has come in Los Angeles, and b) how insightful the Newport Harbor Art Museum is in recognizing it. Jim Ganzer, to seize an example of work which is at least on the periphery of painting, is responsible for a 40 by 10-foot white dry wall on which a hunk of charred lumber has been dragged, leaving a processy drawing (the wood lies at the end of its path, on the floor). There’s another one, shorter, in which the medium (cutely given as “charcoal”) leaves

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  • Stephen Harger

    Jack Glenn Gallery

    Jack Glenn’s gallery has a lot going for it (the breathing space of off-La Cienega, a relatively untapped Orange County market, and some New York heavies in the stable) and a few items mitigating against it (an unbelievable beige velour interior which swallows light in great whalelike gulps, a predilection for prettiness). Hard by is the University of California at Irvine, which, together with Cal Arts way out in Valencia, is Mecca for ambitious art students aiming for the 1973 Whitney Annual, and Glenn has given a show to one of its recent graduates, Stephen Harger. Harger’s work is worth noting

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  • The Crowded Vacancy

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    Photography shows are sticklers. As wall material, photographs don’t make it. If they’re small enough to retain the negative’s integrity, they poke little square, black holes in the wall, usually behind a smothering plate of glass or a preciously wide mat; if they’re blown up to painting size, the gallery looks like a poster boutique of thin, trendy images. Photographs belong in books, and that’s why the catalog of The Crowded Vacancy, an exhibition of three Los Angeles photographers, is superb, while the show itself is merely good. It is reportage, lending itself to flights of literary

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  • Laddie John Dill

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    Laddie John Dill is a first rate artist. Dill’s three wall pieces in his PAM “young artist” show are neon tubes chromatically sectioned (two symmetrically, one not) and retaining the attendant working “gear” (transformers, wire, right out of Sonnier). You can take these works several ways: as pure color glow from the tube, as a luminous object, or a demi environment (piece, wall, gear, floor, light), and any way, they’re austere, tough, and pretty all at the same time. The floor piece, a pile of sand with a buried light, into which are stuck some glass panels with glowing edges (the light “

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  • Robert Indiana

    Multiples

    Robert Indiana, ten years after the fact, has some bad points. His stuff takes the commercial art form of a cover for a slick/hip magazine like Avant Garde (that “Love” is a Frankenstein); it has all the prefab attractions—clean edges, block/stencil letters, sweetly loud color, pinball machine layouts, and “content”; all in all, it’s as endemic to ‘60s supergraphics as fender fins were to the ‘50s. “Decade,” a series of ten serigraphs, reprises all this via the “major” themes of the last ten years—“Hind Part” (Philadelphia, Mississippi, not Selma, Alabama), “Brooklyn Bridge” out of Joseph Stella,

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  • Roy Lichtenstein

    Irving Blum Gallery

    Roy Lichtenstein’s “Mirrors” are marvels. With inventive configurations and finely nuanced Ben-Day patterns, the mirrors (five circles, one oval, and two rectangles—one a giant four panel) make profound plays on our acculturated patterns of recognition, continuing the real genius of an art for a long time overly encrusted with Pop enigma and cuteypie banality. Lichtenstein renders “nothing” (an empty reflection, a “reflection” of nothing) with the most emphatic “something”—starkly painted areas, lines, and little balls of Primary School color. But we accept it, slogan for fact. Lichtenstein

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  • David Simpson

    Hank Baum Gallery

    David Simpson, whose show inaugurated the new Hank Baum Gallery across the street from the County Museum, might at first be mistaken for a vest pocket Kenneth Noland, especially since his “color” paintings have slowly divested themselves of the romantic inaccuracies of staining and settled firmly into candy-colored stripes. But Simpson, who now does rainbows in various arcs and formats, is up to a little more: his configurations bend and unbend the delicately sized formats with a combination color-configuration space which “works” (makes you look beyond the sweetness) about 50 percent of the

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