reviews

  • William Wiley

    Allan Frumkin Gallery

    William T. Wiley makes funky paintings, sculptures, and graphics. In his recent show I was much more taken by the sculptures than by the rest. The paintings sometimes look labored, which conflicts with the rather delightful kind of raunchiness that this art is generally about. Maybe it is also that the two-dimensional works look too pointless and disposable, whereas anything identifiable as sculpture, no matter how ramshackle, tends to evidence at least the most rudimentary act of artistic will. By comparison, the funky portrait paintings of Peter Saul look perfectly self-sufficient, even if in

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  • Joyce Kozloff

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery

    Joyce Kozloff’s show at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery included a half dozen paintings together with small groups of drawings and lithographs. The basic procedure is an assertive geometrical compartmentalization. The compartments—which are mostly rectangular and belong to bricklike horizontal registers, although diagonals generate some triangular forms—show an independent handling of a highly patternistic character. The interest is in the way the compartments, while dealt with separately, contribute to rather than distract from the unity of surface.

    Basically this unity depends upon the treating of

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  • Cecil Beaton

    Sonnabend Gallery uptown

    Cecil Beaton’s show of portrait photographs at the Sonnabend Gallery was so vapidly chic that it quickly gave rise to a play of ideas. Beaton’s portraits fall into very clear categories involving interesting oppositions. There are hideous, arrogant, nasty society women as against men who are much more likely to be forthright, dignified, and, in one way or another, attractive. Both these types are opposed to sitters—men and women—of creative and intellectual accomplishment. One takes offense when one realizes that to Beaton these human varieties apparently imply credentials exchangeable at par

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  • From The Picture Press

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    Salient facts: New York City plunges as deep as it soars, its bowels as mammoth as its lungs and brain (people on the street are trapped at midpoint); the “Picture Press” records a hierarchical society (Adam hats; sorry, no dinner without a tie; no place for kids playing stickball; gee, mister; women at home over stoves in the Bronx; and the races know their places); and, color is not necessary to understanding (it’s cold, the street smells like delicatessen steam, and the dead gangster’s 1941 Buick convertible is recently polished—we can see all that, and our fate, in black-and-white). We shall

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  • Robert Ryman

    John Weber Gallery

    Probably more than any other paintings, including Ad Reinhardt’s, Robert Ryman’s fulfill Reinhardt’s claim of what paintings should be by saying what they shouldn’t be. In one sense, it is easy to approach Ryman’s paintings in terms of what they are not, because so much that is conventionally present in paintings is absent from his. Perhaps this absence of many conventional elements gives a clue as to why painters, generally speaking, tend to disregard Ryman’s work, and artists who otherwise have no use for painting make his paintings an exception. In the usual sense, there is not much in a

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  • Robert Whitman

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    Art and technology seems to have had its day. Much activity called “Experiments in Art and Technology” has produced little that could be followed up. But when experiments are really experiments, eventual practical applications (“practical” is used rather oddly here in referring to art or art-making) are not the point, but are only happy side effects. In this sense, an experiment that yields nothing useful is necessarily neither a failure nor a waste of time; at a minimum, the knowledge is gained that such experiment yields nothing useful or interesting. Nevertheless, there was a certain amount

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  • Miriam Shapiro

    André Emmerich Gallery downtown

    Miriam Shapiro has, except for a few lingering traces, abandoned the illusionist, hard-edge paintings of a few years ago. Her new paintings are motley collages of snips of fabric and acrylic. Schapiro’s political activities are fairly well known so there is a temptation to read some sort of feminist connotation into her choice of materials, but whatever interpretation this choice doesn’t seem a matter of great consequence. Most of the paintings are complicated with a ground of a simple configuration covered by many quiltlike bits of fabric, whose placement seems not so much random as arbitrary.

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  • Peter Hutchinson

    John Gibson Gallery

    In his article “Beware,” Daniel Buren writes, “In order, no doubt, to get closer to ‘reality,’ the ‘conceptual’ artist becomes gardener, scientist, sociologist, philosopher, storyteller, chemist, sportsman.” The quote is applicable to Peter Hutchinson’s most recent show at the John Gibson Gallery. Hutchinson has become mostly a storyteller; working with video, photograph, and writing, he narrates anecdotes. One of the more interesting pieces, and among the least anecdotal, is one called The End of Letters, a photographic record of the making and destruction of all the letters in “THE END.” ‘T’

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  • Jared Bark

    112 Greene Street

    In his first one-man show, Jared Bark exhibited a number of paintings made of glass over Masonite and paint. Bark breaks the glass by first shooting BBs into its surface and then manually extending and forcing the resulting cracks. Originally and still in four of the 11 works shown here, Bark used the patterns of constellations to determine the placement of the shots. In the majority of the more recent work, Bark has dispensed with this device and is merely attempting to divide the 4’ square of glass over Masonite in various ways: with a cross, an “X,” a circle, a triangle, and so on. In either

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  • Hanne Darboven

    Leo Castelli Gallery downtown

    As one indication of the commercial viability and gradual social acceptance of Conceptual art, Hanne Darboven’s show at Leo Castelli continues the migration of Conceptual artists from museum shows of the last few years to commercial galleries. Perhaps Lucy Lippard’s warning in Six Years that Conceptual art was not escaping the commercialization of modernism is coming true. It appears the public is potentially as greedy for numbering systems as it is for Xerox sheets. Darboven’s wall to wall, ceiling to floor, handwritten systems are problematic though. Problematic in the sense, a lot of the

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  • Rosemary Mayer

    A.I.R. Gallery

    Rosemary Mayer showed three pieces and a number of drawings in her exhibition. Mayer works with fabric which she hangs and drapes from poles, the ceiling, and walls. In Hroswitha, five long poles curve down from the ceiling, spreading out to points on the wall. Red and black cloth and white netting are draped in three horizontal tiers from pole to pole. An asymmetrical piece, The Catherines, curves out from the wall and combines several colors and kinds of materials, both opaque and transparent, in overlays which result in complex mixes and alterations of the color and textures of the individual

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  • “Story” and Roger Cutforth

    John Gibson Gallery

    The idea that Conceptual art resembles literature might be reexamined in the light of the literary aspirations of some of the artists in “Story.” However, as a deft exhibition title designed to package disparate artists, “Story” reveals few shared assumptions about literature or art. But, on the evidence of one or two works per artist, it’s difficult to tell. If there are similarities, they’re formal ones. Most of the artists as second generation Conceptualists appear primarily interested in expanding the use of the camera as a “dumb copying device,” and also developing the interaction between

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  • John McCracken

    Robert Elkon Gallery

    If one wanted to make a point about the blandness of art objects allowing infinite interpretation one couldn’t have a better example than John McCracken. What is there to say? Everything and nothing. McCracken’s single color, highly reflective lacquered slabs hanging flat on the wall are so bland—and beautiful—one can say anything. Their mirrored surfaces invite comment by the world. One could write books about abstract art, Ockham’s Razor “less is more,” and Kantian absolutism. I won’t. Without language to locate his slabs historically what are they though? One has to know McCracken’s Minimalist

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  • Anthony Caro

    André Emmerich Gallery uptown

    Contained within the viewer’s space while at the same time distanced from it by pictorial conventions of a sort long since abandoned by painting itself, Caro’s new work nonetheless asks to be seen in the context of the anti illusionist, American sculpture which now holds the initiative. This work makes explicit reference to Richard Serra, and, perhaps less directly, to Robert Smithson. Sadly, for the table work indicates misunderstanding of serious sculpture in America at the present time, a sculpture to which the best of Caro’ s own previous work had made a substantial contribution. Caro now

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  • About 405 East 13th Street

    405 East 13th Street

    “Spatializing” and its implications were the premises of the 34 artists who participated in jean Dupuy’s show “About 405 East 13th Street” early this summer. “About” dealt with various interior, exterior, and interfacial aspects of Dupuy’s loft in terms of description and manipulation. Microscopic and telescopic realignments undermined the standard subject-object relationship. The show’s site, a living and working loft, dramatized this “spatializing” approach. Psychological and visual conditions imposed on the viewer in gallery space did not exist. The murky and raw space contributed to the

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