San Francisco/Berkeley

Elmer Bischoff

San Francisco Art Institute / University Art Museum, Berkeley

I don’t think West Coast art has ever really worried about ideas of the impersonal as New York artists have. Reviewing three decades of art (roughly 1945–75) can substantiate all my hidden prejudices about the subject of painting, culture, and traditionalism. The new work looks old (especially the good stuff), harking back to the days when painting reigned. That paint, craftily laid on in appropriately pleasing arrangements, was necessary to create honest-to-goodness art, Art.

Elmer Bischoff had two shows: new paintings at the Art Institute and ink drawings in Berkeley. I should write the whole affair off as “out of my range,” because these brand new fossils quietly insist that painting is at the service of personal expression (not of the mind); they are curious momentoes of a philosophy which, I believe, is completely untenable at this time. The drawings are grotesque, with a gutsiness

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