• Jay Willis

    Hank Baum Gallery

    Fifteen years ago painting hit a peak and, to reverse the metaphor, it’s been trying to dig itself out of a hole ever since. For a while, in the early sixties, it struggled a couple of rungs up on the ladder out; Frank Stella, et al, discovered, it appeared, a way out of the obligatory featherbed of brushstrokes: pictures coated with flat bands of color bent to fit specially carpentered exotic/systemic formats. But, advancing into the opening pages of that catalog-to-be, “Painting of the Seventies,” the whole enterprise is melting again into little puddles of acrylic Romance and the oubliettes

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  • John Schroeder and Connie Zehr

    Brand Art Center

    “Sand Works” by John Schroeder and Connie Zehr, at the Brand Art Center makes a big deal of the material as if, with audience philistinism anticipated, choice of tools were in itself a virtue. Moreover, the attitude evidenced toward sand (ergo, earth) is more narrative than concrete, more fawningly romantic than adventurous; it’s a kind of fifties’ earthwork show. John Schroeder’s statement (there are personal explanations on a wall near each work—I haven’t seen that in a while) is a cosmological number telling us the earth is a mere speck, human life is short, nature knows best, etc., and, at

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  • Dan Flavin

    ACE Gallery

    Perhaps Dan Flavin is he, but a) he doesn’t call his work sculpture and b) I don’t know that Flavin will ever be anywhere near understood. Not that he hasn’t tried to explain himself; somebody gave me a catalog of the Canadian retrospective Flavin was awarded two years ago, and it’s chock-full of revelations, not the least of which is a whiny, lyrical, confessional autobiography through which Flavin injects, ex post facto, a first novelist’s drama into what appears as a cuddly, crisis-free, middle class upbringing:

    "I continued to draw, to doodle somewhat privately in class, in the margins of my

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  • Ed Janss

    Multiples, Inc.

    There are good reasons not to review Ed Janss’ show of “In-Water Photography” at Multiples, Inc. The artist is a big real-estate developer/art collector and his photographs are obvious high quality hobby products. Then there’s the title and, finally, there’s the persistent problem of photographs as gallery material; the first two I acknowledge and capriciously overlook, but the third point is worth some explanation.

    No fool would maintain that, in theory, photography isn’t, or cannot he, an art as highfalutin as painting or sculpture, printmaking, or composing piano sonatas. Steichen showed us

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