reviews

  • Walter Darby Bannard

    Knoedler Contemporary Art

    In 1972, Walter Darby Bannard changed the style of his paintings. He stopped alternating matte and shiny passages on smooth surfaces, and started to make the entire surface shiny and rough. This new look was gotten by covering the canvas with an ooze of alkyd resin, then inflecting it with long, narrow, squiggly, scraping strokes. In his next show, these strokes got wider and more carefully aligned with the vertical edges of the canvas. In his most recent show, the alignment is more careful and the strokes wider still. Colors extend in layers across the surface, as Bannard’s scrapings reveal.

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  • Scott Burton

    Artists Space

    When artists employ ordinary pieces of furniture—tables and chairs—they generally employ in addition a formal strategy to lift these objects out of their ordinariness. Lucas Samaras imposes obsessive Transformations on his chairs. George Brecht presents chairs in mysterious conjunction with other common objects. Ree Morton makes her own chairs, giving them a stylistic correspondence to the privatist tableaux where they appear. And so on. The point is that the common sort of intelligibility offered by ordinary furniture is destroyed, to be replaced by intelligibility more acceptable in one or

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  • Patsy Norvell

    A.I.R. Gallery

    Patsy Norvell’s show at A. I. R. had two parts. The first included a number of enclosures ranging in diameter from 13 inches to ten feet. In the second, there was one parabolically shaped fence made of plexiglas rods and wire mesh. This work measures 20 feet at its deepest. Norvell’s art falls into three stages, roughly. From 1970 to 1973, she made wall pieces in which strips of paper, satin, vinyl and other materials were pleated and sewn together in rows. Next, from 1974 to 1975, she made wall pieces from hair. The best known of these consists of a series of curls scotch-taped in horizontal

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  • Jack Youngerman

    Pace Gallery

    Jack Youngerman offers all-white sculpture—three-dimensional fiberglass and resin versions of the shapes made familiar by his paintings in recent years. These shapes are vaguely floral, usually one to a painting, with strong affinities to Matisse’s late cutouts. Youngerman employs only outline to suggest the interior configurations of his painted shapes. Thus, the transposition from two to three dimensions opens silhouettes up into fully articulated forms. This is not necessarily a gain. Whatever interest Youngerman’s recent paintings have had lay in their graphic ambiguities. By removing

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  • Jake Berthot, Jim Huntington And Harvey Quaytman

    David McKee Gallery

    The recent three-man show at the David McKee Gallery was in the nature of an interim report on the artists featured: Jake Berthot, Jim Huntington And Harvey Quaytman. In summary, Huntington has made a change, Quaytman has stayed put, and Berthot has done some of both.

    Berthot made his mark with Rothko-esque color expanses set in “frames” of a related color. Last season, he shifted to a smaller format. The surface became less atmospheric; the framing device took on overtones of carpentry. In other words, a door- or wall-like effect was achieved. One of these paintings appeared in this show. Along

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  • Robert Wilson And Ralph Hilton

    The Kitchen

    Spaceman, by Robert Wilson and Ralph Hilton, invokes many layers of meaning through its title, one of which is the play on man as master of space. One first stands on the stairs waiting for the door to open. Then one enters a small room disclosing what looks like an aqua satin anteater lying on the floor saying, “There . . . [long pause] . . . there is . . . [pause] . . . there are. . . .” with no mouth to eat the wilting head of lettuce placed at its head. One flipper points to a framed page of The Village Voice bearing the headline, “Loch Ness Monster Strikes It Rich,” with a photograph of

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  • Brenda Miller

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    Ordination or counting has characterized Brenda Miller’s sculpture for the last six years. Her earlier work was conceived in two parts—first, as a diagram or drawing, then the work was executed on the wall. Rope or sisal was cut in lengths corresponding to the numbers in the diagram and resembled a shag rug of thick and thin densities as the varying lengths of rope overlapped. Eventually she discovered that she no longer needed the sensual three-dimensionality of sisal spilling into space. She realized that her work had two major concerns: literal density and the process of making.

    In 1973 she

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  • John Okulick

    Nancy Hoffman Gallery

    John Okulick is part of what appears to be a definite direction within sculpture toward producing objects which are scarcely deeper than an haut relief. Okulick’s boxes occupy a shallow, barely three-dimensional space and are a mannerist actualization of a two-dimensional illusion—a perspective drawing of a three-dimensional box receding in space on the vertical wall. He aligns small bevelled edged wooden planks along perspective lines to enhance the illusion. A photograph reverses the process, causing them to revert to the two-dimensional space from which they were derived.

    Originally Okulick’s

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  • Aristide Maillol

    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

    Aristide Maillol’s work lies between French academicism and 20th-century sculptural experiments. He was trained as a painter at the École des Beaux-Arts but, after meeting Gauguin and the Nabis, he abandoned academicism for decorative sculpture and painting. In the 1890s he began producing small statuettes of women in terra cotta and wood, something he continued to do at intervals throughout his career. In 1902 he made his first monumental sculpture. Never feeling the need, like Giacometti, to come to terms with Cubism, the remainder of Maillol’s career, as this major retrospective reveals,

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  • Susan Hoffman And Molly Upton

    Kornblee Gallery

    Jonathan Holstein’s collection of traditional quilts shown at the Whitney Museum, especially the intensely colored geometric Amish quilts, implied a likeness between American pieced work quilts and geometric abstractions such as those of Albers, Malevich, Noland and Rothko. Within the searching for “fore-mothers” on the part of women, the statement often was made that pieced work quilts were the women’s art of the 19th century whose abstraction predated the innovations of the 20th century. Whether or not this assertion has any validity, an issue which has died down rather than being satisfactorily

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  • “Ruckus Manhattan”

    88 Pine Street

    Buildings bend and swoop in Ruckus Manhattan, streets buckle and tilt, à la Dr. Caligari. The product of a combine called Ruckus Construction Co. and Creative Time, Inc., under the guidance of Red Grooms, this large model of Lower Manhattan is explicitly fantastic. Little is held constant here; scale is out of control, and the forms and faces of the buildings are shaped to a set of personal visions. The place delights children—there are crowds of them even in the cold rain—and I. M. Pei’s elegant, white-girdered building at 88 Pine Street is a pleasant setting for a work whose levity about form

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  • “Shinjuku: The Phenomenal City”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    Land in Shinjuku, a busy transportation center in Tokyo, may be the most expensive in the world, costing up to $200 a square foot. Shinjuku is one of the places where they invented the professional subway packer—a uniformed employee who throws his weight into making sure that every car is filled to capacity. In the large entertainment and shopping districts that surround the rail center one may see a giant gorilla clutching a plastic hamburger, a huge, science-fictiony crab in front of a seafood restaurant, and plastic leaves and blossoms that are changed to match the seasons.

    These bits of

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  • Ralph Gibson

    Leo Castelli Gallery - Uptown

    I first became familiar with Ralph Gibson’s work through his latest book of photographs, Days at Sea. The book is published by Gibson’s own house, Lustrum Press, and it exhibits the full self-indulgence of the artist who is also his own publisher. The cover of Days at Sea shows a picture of a woman sliding a large white feather between her naked buttocks, and the pictures inside indulge in the same kind of cheap sexuality, along with a number of tired Surrealist gags. A few pictures, however, are striking exceptions to this pattern, and they are the type Gibson showed at Leo Castelli.

    Castelli’s

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  • Michael Singer

    Sperone Westwater Fischer Gallery

    Earthworks generally radicalize our perception of landscape by altering it in some unnatural way; Michael Singer’s modest works of the past few years, photographs of which were shown recently, investigate and comment upon natural processes without imposing on them. The pieces he has produced in Florida swamps and New York State forests are so at one with their surroundings that his discreet interventions pass virtually unnoticed.

    The swamp works consist of reeds and grasses bundled or propped casually to preserve their natural appearance. They bend with the breezes, are reflected in the water,

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  • Marilynn Gelfman-Pereira

    O. K. Harris Gallery

    Michael Singer’s work casually annotates nature’s random aspects; Marilynn Gelfman-Pereira transforms evidence of its structural regularity into a series of elegant, intentionally artificial constructions. Forked twigs, chosen for their similarity of size and angle, are judiciously pruned to uniform lengths and positioned in various configurations with the tips of the branches touching each other, thus producing rough imitations of geometric figures. These are then interlaced with miniature wire sculptures of a highly constructivist character.

    Pereira has always worked on a small scale. Her

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  • Don Celender

    O. K. Harris Gallery

    Don Celender is a spoofing quasi-Conceptualist who uses art-world figures and foibles as his subject—and target. Much of his “oeuvre” belongs to the Mail Art genre—the “documentary” branch, not the larger funk/junk division of the esthetic postal service. A recent prank involved correspondence with various categories of notables—corporation presidents, congressmen, etc.—proposing preposterous projects and publishing their replies along with his letters.

    Other works include baseball cards with art-world faces superimposed on them, published results of an art-world “Olympics”—best-looking critic,

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