reviews

  • May Stevens

    Deson-Zaks Gallery

    Appointed with TVs, BVDs, bull-dogs and flags, the Big Daddy image has recurred through seven years of paintings, silkscreens, and gouaches by May Stevens. Each variation has cumulatively built or revealed the concept of an authoritarian beast that BD symbolizes. The impact is in Stevens’s irony, her poised commentary on a gross subject, as compared with, for example, Golub’s chaotically ripped and singed canvases. Both BD’s symmetry and his persistence through a series are echoes of regimentation.

    Stevens admits that her focus on social problems attempts no social results. And I would agree that

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  • Robert Irwin

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)

    Robert Irwin’s two new pieces do, respectively, more with less and a hell of a lot with nothing. The first is encountered at the museum entrance, and the viewer boggles at an apparently endless path, which traverses the gallery length, 80 feet, and divides the whole main space into three sections: left area, middle volume scrim, and right area. The right area is impossible to get to, without jumping a stair rail, and the view of its real-world white walls, tile floor, and square grate light-fixtures seems “lower,” “basic,” or “ordinary,” in contrast to the central volume. Like Irwin’s previous

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  • Robert Graham

    Dorothy Rosenthal Gallery

    In the 1960s, Robert Graham arranged five-inch wax models in plexiglass perspex boxes, reminiscent of Muybridge’s and Eakins’s studies of a nude woman from many angles. Obviously, the painted specifics of nipples, pubic hair, and pretty faces were of more interest to the artist than the definition of light and space or the relationships between the forms in the box. By 1971, Graham removed this narrative element from his work, concentrating on form. The small-scale models now were bronze cast, and the body parts showed not sensuality, but a potential for limitless, complex positions. This movement

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  • Alice Shaddle

    Artemesia Gallery

    Was a time when ladies thought it derogatory to mention their own wispy qualities. But one type of current women’s art seems to acknowledge the female myth, in effect, saying, “Yes, femininity exists and my art proves it.” And then there is the other kind of work that bolluxes the myth, appropriating phallic imagery or elevating Plain Janes where Marilyns might have stood. Expressing this dichotomy, Alice Shaddle is a paradigm standing opposite the imagery of Judith Bernstein. Shaddle acknowledges the sense of flowers, the fluent fantasies, the shifting forms which Bernstein summarily “plows”

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  • David Roth

    Michael Wyman Gallery

    One summer, I worked with an anthropologist who collected hundreds of contemporary Mexican hand-painted pots. She analyzed the structure, frequency, distribution, and interrelation of their design elements—birds, flowers, leaves, moons, even cowboys—to deduce which Mexican potmakers sat in groups and which of them sat alone. It turned out that the “group” people borrowed design elements from each other; the “loners” traded designs with no one. Because this revelation(?) proved the charts and literature which generated it, the anthropologist’s pots were as “scientifically” verified as any Fanny

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