reviews

  • Larry Poons

    Lawrence Rubin Gallery

    Larry Poons showed more of his heavily textured abstractions at Rubin. Not much different from last year’s, these are more calculatingly cropped, more often interrupted with wide scraped areas serving as elements of balance. The question of allover painting has disappeared from Poons’ work: these are large abstract machines whose internal workings are traditionally compositional. They have aningratiating energy, an aura of per sistent struggle and unrelenting concern to establish a purity of esthetic motive, but this is their least interesting quality. They are more striking in their innocence,

    Read more
  • Tom Wesselmann

    Sidney Janis Gallery

    Tom Wesselmann’s latest show at Janis included ten large oil paintings, eight oil studies, several charcoal drawings, and a maquette. The central works were more of his Bedroom Paintings, and nearly everything on view contained the imagery of that series—a woman’s face in a picture frame, a woman’s body foreshortened, roses, toes, an alarm clock, a perfume bottle. Wesselmann is automatically given a place among the founders of American Pop art. Furthermore, his persistent reliance on the original tenets of his style has earned him the reputation of the last of the hard-core Pop artists still

    Read more
  • Gregory Turpan

    Hundred Acres Gallery

    Gregory Turpan’s show at the Hundred Acres Gallery was similarly eclectic. He draws, however, on different sources—with one exception: both Wesselmann and Turpan employ or have employed found objects. This points to Duchamp, the source underlying so much assemblage, European and American. Turpan’s works are put together from household objects, always very clean and new: “hard-edge” in effect, even where they are not literally so, as with his mops and Gainesburgers. In Grill Mop, these two materials, or objects, are enclosed in an outdoor barbecue grill. It’s as though slightly disorderly

    Read more
  • Mario Yrisarry

    O.K. Harris Gallery

    Mario Yrisarry included examples of all his recent manners—or techniques—in his latest show at O.K. Harris. Each painting is square and divided into a grid. The variety is in the ways he fills the grid with color. There are paintings whose grid squares are filled with solid color, sometimes as smoothsurfaced as he can make it, sometimes intentionally but still faintly nuanced. In other paintings, the squares are filled with a looping or a zigzag line. In others, the grid is established by spiraling lines which cross at right angles as they move from one edge of the canvas to the other. Most of

    Read more
  • Gabriel Laderman

    Schoelkopf Gallery

    Gabriel Laderman’s recent exhibit at Schoelkopf consisted of portraits, double portraits, landscapes, portraits in landscape, and still lifes—all the genres whose validity this embattled Realist feels he must establish. It would be convenient but quite distorting to look at Laderman’s work apart from his extensive commentary on Realism. Laderman the writer is hard to place. He is somewhere between critic, historian, esthetician, and polemicist, adopting each role as it appears useful. He is an interesting writer because he has reintroduced an important topic into recent discussion: the modernist

    Read more
  • Group Show

    John Weber Gallery

    The group of artists forming the group show at Weber also showed as a group there last winter, but without Hans Haacke.

    Nancy Holt’s work Locator With Spotlight and Sunlight was much simpler than what is necessary to describe it would indicate. A sharp-focused spotlight is aimed at a wall at an angle forming an oval of light on the wall. At the same angle to the wall, but on the opposite side, is a similarly shaped oval of daylight formed by an oval cut in a piece of board covering the window. Between these two ovals of light, a “T”-shaped steel pipe stands on the floor positioned in such a way

    Read more
  • David Stoltz

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery

    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

    Read more
  • Frederick Sommer

    Light Gallery

    The Light Gallery showed over 60 photographs by Frederick Sommer from 1941 through 1972. Sommer was born in Europe in 1905, grew up in Brazil, studied landscape architecture at Cornell, took up painting in the early ’30s, and photography upon meeting Stieglitz in 1935. For the last 30 years, Sommer has worked and taught in Arizona. Sommer’s photographs seem to fall into three general categories: allover landscape photographs of Arizona; architectural photographs under which photographs generally tied to a ’30s view of Constructivism and Biederman’s structuralism can be included; and experimental

    Read more
  • Robert Duran

    Bykert Gallery

    Robert Duran seems to be in a similar situation though there is no dominating Caro equivalent in painting. Duran showed six large new paintings at Bykert in bright juicy fruit colors (whatever that means, take it literally rather than as the color of chewing gum) and six watercolors which are pale prototypes of the paintings. In Duran’s paintings, a layer of watery acrylic is soaked into the canvas as a pastel colored ground; over this ground, irregular sort-of-geometric shapes are painted in watery acrylic so that as color-shapes touch, each bleeds into the other causing areas of “dirty” color

    Read more
  • Vincent Inconiglios

    West Broadway Gallery

    Two of the six paintings shown by Vincent Inconiglios at West Broadway looked like paintings of Carl Andre’s metal plates. The depicted metal plates have the same scrubbed, spill-stained, and generally roughed-up look as Andre’s plates. In the larger painting, the whole is formed of 18 2’-square panels, each of which is quartered by depiction so that the module appears to be a one foot square. lnconiglios’ other paintings are also grid structured, two in windowlike configurations and two others in irregular diagonal grids. The grids, in the latter case, are formed by painting or rubbing graphite

    Read more
  • Susan Lewis Williams

    A.I.R. Gallery

    Susan Lewis Williams showed two works at A.I.R. under the general heading “Sculpture Recycled.” Within this general heading “Watermill (a summer experience recycled)” is comprised of about 100 glass quart jars stacked pyramid fashion against a wall; the wall is papered with reproductions of a photograph of the jars stacked similarly against another wall. In the photographs, nearly all the jars are filled with sand, but in the physical situation, about half the jars are partially filled with sand while nine jars contain a folded piece of paper. In a brief statement accompanying the piece, Williams

    Read more
  • William Wegman

    Sonnabend Gallery

    Without worrying whether William Wegman is a Conceptual artist or not, his show at Sonnabend belies the notion that art focused on concepts is without humor. I found watching Wegman’s video tapes to be watching the funniest TV show I had ever seen. However, Wegman’s art is joke art only if by “joke art” we mean any art that makes us laugh; but Wegman doesn’t tell jokes, nor does he satirize art, the art world, or anything else. A knowledge of contemporary art is not a prerequi site to laughing at Wegman’s show; and unlike much of what gets included in “joke art,” Wegman’s humor is not a matter

    Read more
  • Gordon Matta-Clark

    112 Greene Street

    Many aspects of some recent Conceptual art or Arte Povera seem to me to be naturalistic, since they are involved in a direct way with depictions of the real world. Yet these aspects have gone largely unrecognized. Hans Haacke’s recent poll of the visitors at the John Weber Gallery, for instance, or Doug Huebler’s many variations on the theme of a snapshot, Vito Acconci’s self-probing, Donald Burgy’s Rock Piece—all of these try hard to be true to nature and to render it without distortion. However, when such work is viewed through the dark glasses needed for linguistic Conceptualism, the issues

    Read more
  • Alice Adams

    55 Mercer Gallery

    Alice Adams uses the same kinds of materials as Gordon Matta-Clark. She uses them traditionally, which makes for a nice contrast between her constructed sculptures and his “found” ones. Adams’ three freestanding works and one wall relief utilize plaster of Paris, wood and wire lath, all of which are practically obsolete building materials in our time of wallboard and exposed brick. She trowels her plaster onto the lath like stucco, giving it a rough texture. Sometimes the wood-lath slats are spaced as if for plastering; at other times she abuts them. In either case they have a sun-screen

    Read more
  • Susan Smith

    55 Mercer Gallery

    Susan Smith also stresses the anonymity of her imagery. It derives from a very familiar urban sight: the vari-colored rectilinear grids of apartment interiors exposed by the removal of the building of which they once constituted a lateral wall. What is left is a sort of patchwork record of human habitation—the colors of moldings, paint, and wallpaper, the shapes of various pieces of furniture, of closets and stairways—the configurations that are shown in colors on Gordon Matta-Clark’s newsprint. Smith renders them in monochrome with a dusky softness, in pastel on foamcore or in oil on wood. In

    Read more
  • Alan Sonfist

    Paley & Lowe

    Alan Sonfist’s Landscape in comparison with all this, makes him look like a “naturalist.” The small section of actual forest he has trans ported to the gallery floor is presented as if it were a piece of evidence in the Museum of Natural History. There are a variety of reference frames and scales of observation through which we may view it. First we see it in terms of his experience of it. An excerpt from his diary outlines his discovery of the site and details his reactions on various lev els while it describes the discrete units he encounters there with charming fulsomeness. Next we have a

    Read more
  • Jannis Kounellis

    Sonnabend Gallery

    Jannis Kounellis confronts nature and the man-made. He makes this confrontation literal, incorporating both objects and performances. He confronts the kind of paradoxical fusion of real and manufactured that Magritte was particularly masterful at depicting. Kounellis’ Papagallo of 1969, the earliest work in the show, consists of a vertically oriented iron rectangle. The work outlines his esthetic position perfectly. It is an abstract “object”—gray, hard, and Minimal—to which the artist has bound a “natural” phenomenon—a richly colorful, cawing, bit of life. Each impinges on the other’s reality.

    Read more
  • Mary Miss

    55 Mercer Gallery

    Although the work of Mary Miss has received some exposure over the past five years, it remains difficult to pigeonhole as to type. This is partly the result of her determination to steer clear of sculptural categories such as serial or modular or even antiform, and of journalistic designations concerning materials. She keeps shifting around, from wood (which she uses most consistently) through cardboard, chicken wire, rope, and metal to plastics (the least frequently utilized). But no matter what material she uses, she employs it as simply and truthfully as possible, stressing its natural

    Read more
  • Sylvia Stone

    Andre Emmerich downtown

    At the extreme end of the spectrum—as far away from naturalism as you can get—is the geometric abstraction of Sylvia Stone’s glassy green and smoky gray Plexiglas sculptures on view at the Andre Emmerich Gallery in Soho—Crystal Palace and Another Place. These works, plus two smaller pieces, demonstrate some of the problems presented by the contemporary need for “truth to materials.” Stone is working in a transparent material, but she seems to be caught in a dilemma between her love of Plexiglas for its own sake and the fact that she utilizes it to form solid, planar shapes which we are accustomed

    Read more
  • Robert Motherwell

    Lawrence Rubin Gallery

    Robert Motherwell showed nine paintings, all but one from this year, at the Lawrence Rubin Gallery. This artist has an assertive persistence about him, as though in moments of declined appreciation he were on the verge of saying, “You won’t have Bob Motherwell to kick around anymore.” To some extent most artists share the same dilemma, when theirown growth outlives the immediate interests of history. Motherwell did make substantial contributions to the New York School in its heroic period, and on a high level. The rhetorical aspects of his Elegies may not seem to the point now, but they have

    Read more
  • Dan Christensen

    Andre Emmerich uptown

    Dan Christensen, at Andre Emmerich’s uptown gallery, spreads his Rococo tints with a squeegee into slick flat swipes that run the length of the canvas but bend in their repetitive curves like the regular but wavering overlapping trails of an ice-scraper on a hockey court. These vertical paintings relate very closely to works by Olitski, but the comparison is generally on the order of a weak Soulages to a strong Kline, and given the initial delicacy of the Olitskis in question, a certain flabbiness results.

    Christensen’s stroke is by nature continuous and necessitates virtuosity, since a severe

    Read more
  • Jake Berthot

    OK Harris

    Normally “derivative” is a pejorative word, but derivation is the substance of tradition. Jake Berthot’s art is related to the work of painters as distinct as Johns, Motherwell, and Twombly, but it is not merely eclectic. His paintings at O.K. Harris suggest other artists simply because of mutual concerns. When his compositions suggest Motherwell it is because Berthot is also interested in the subdivision of a loosely painted canvas by a simple linear form—in Scrupf (1972), for instance, by an inner rectangle sharing the top edge of the vertical painting with the concrete edge of the canvas,

    Read more
  • Natavar Bhavsar

    Max Hutchinson Gallery

    Natavar Bhavsar, at MaxHutchinson’s, works with spotted turfs of some dominant but varying color surrounded at the edges by conglomerations of juxtaposed and clashing hues. These pigment-flecked canvases suggest neo-Impressionism more by their palpable dryness of finish and by their use of the complementary border idea than by the simple fact of their tiny dotlike facture. When we notice the orange field of R-DHYA checked by patches mainly of a brilliant blue, the principle of complementary colors makes the analogy inescapable.

    Bhavsar, however, is quite unlike the neo-Impressionists in his aims

    Read more