New York

David Stoltz

DAVID STOLTZ’ sculpture at Tibor de Nagy doesn’t raise any new problems or solve any old ones, though it gets increasingly more difficult to remember what the old problems were. Stoltz’ sculptures are of bent steel bars of varying widths bolted or welded within the formalist conventions established more or less by Anthony Caro. Caro’s domination of formalist sculpture is apparent in Stoltz’ work not because Stoltz’ work looks like Caro’s, but because Stoltz’ sculptures appear to be trying not to look like Caro’s while remaining with .in formalist conventions. Stoltz’ sculptures would not be mistaken for Caro’s, or for work Caro might have done, but it could be mistaken for the work of other sculptors generally in the same boat: trying to get out from underneath Caro, but not formalism. The problem seems to be that formalism in sculpture, at least now, is identi cal with Caro’s sculpture. To get away from Caro means necessarily to get away from formalism as well. Stoltz’ method of escape seems to be through a sculptural calligraphy. As rectangular steel bars are bent and curled, forms are produced similar to those of neon signs, especially if by “neon signs” we include the blacked out portions of tubing. However, Stoltz ’ direction runs into Clement Meadmore on the other side, as his work is easily thought of as complicated, linear Meadmore. But this isn’t really a fair way of discussing an artist’s work, always in terms of other artists’ work. But that talking about painting and sculpture any other way is by now nearly impossible is an indication of their present exhaustion, and need of rest and reformulation.

Bruce Boice