reviews

  • David Hare

    Allesandra Gallery

    David Hare is almost 60. In the 1940s and early ’50s he was among those artists whose concern with myth as a metaphor for creativity drew them to tap the deep atavistic forces in the Jungian “collective unconscious.”

    Now the spotlight of relevancy has moved on, leaving Hare and his work in the shadows. He says, “I’m not interested in history.” Does he mean the history of new trends and ideas? Perhaps he means the recent thousands of years of history since we started to write and since the death of the early gods. Dylan Thomas writes in A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London

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  • David Novros

    Sperone Westwater Fischer Gallery

    David Novros’ monochrome canvases of 10 years ago offered rather idiosyncratic variants on the literalness, coolness and seriality of Minimalism. Their L-shapes were played off against the shapes of the walls where they were hung. Novros’ next move was to bring internal shapes into play; some of these were painted, some were created by the abutment of canvas panels. These shapes were geometric with a strong architectural flavor. The painting, whether rectangular or not, mediated actual and imaginary architecture. The architectonics of post-Cubist geometrical painting were recalled. As a minimalist,

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  • Peter Agostini

    Zabriskie Gallery

    David Hare’s symbol of time is the cycle of the life of Cronus. Peter Agostini’s symbol of time is the aging of the individual human. He is, himself, in his early ’60s, far from aged but old enough to look ahead. He anticipates his aging (and our own) by modeling and casting a series of heads and one standing figure, all of which represent very old men.

    We remember Agostini for his abstract sculpture, in which flexible shapes, often altered and distorted inner tubes, were given immobility and presence when cast in white plaster. The new work risks sentimentality. It deals with that process by

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  • Agnes Martin

    Pace Gallery And Robert Elkon Gallery

    Agnes Martin showed 10 recent paintings at Pace, while a selection of earlier paintings was on exhibition at Elkon. We are familiar with the grid paintings of the ’60s. They are true interior landscapes, suggesting an illusive sense of place embodied in a rigorous and delicate structure. They were never meant to be Minimalist paintings that referred only to their own process. One can “see through” the process to a meditative plane that is both surface and vista.

    What seems to have happened with the new work is that the artist has literally entered her subject matter. She left New York to live in

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  • Jennifer Bartlett

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    When Leonard Bernstein was lecturing on a passage from Beethoven, he said, “You see, it is a model of the mind.” Jennifer Bartlett’s Rhapsody is a series of almost a thousand one-foot-square paintings on white enameled 16-gauge steel. It covered three walls of the gallery. The medium is the lacquer that is used on plastic model kits. The work is meant to be read from top to bottom, row by row from left to right, and the whole arrangement requires that one read it this way. I started taking notes on the number of motifs and the changes they went through and found that only by following the

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  • Pat Steir

    Xavier Fourcade Gallery

    Pat Steir shares with Jennifer Bartlett a didactic bent. Many of her works are notes to herself about picture-making or, more exactly, about mark-making. Unlike Bartlett, she does not seem to be presenting an exposition of the possibilities of visual grammar. Her tone is far more private.

    One small drawing is a mini-manifesto, with notes arranged in a column like a shopping list written in a hurried hand. She writes, “words are also lines” and again, “lines are pictures.” The equivalency of words and images suggests some awareness of Magritte or Johns, but Steir’s approach is one of tentative

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  • Nine Sculptors

    Nassau County Museum Of Fine Arts

    The Nassau County Museum of Fine Arts in Roslyn, New York, was formerly the Frick mansion, a large Georgian-revival building from the 1890s. It stands on 175 acres of grounds, which include formal gardens, picturesque meadows and untended woods. This last spring and summer the museum put on its second exhibition of outdoor sculpture. Nine sculptors were given a free hand in choosing the sites for their work. This meant, in effect, that a variety of contemporary artists were given a chance to play their sophistications off against that of late-19th-century architectural and landscape traditions.

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  • Robert Morris

    Leo Castelli Gallery And Sonnabend Gallery

    Robert Morris’ latest New York exhibition spreads over two galleries and takes two directions. At Castelli, space is enclosed. At Sonnabend, sight lines are drawn. In one sight-line piece, four copper rods, each nine feet long, are suspended from the ceiling; their arrow-shaped tips reach almost to the floor, When the viewer stands so that three of the four rods are lined up, the fourth is revealed to be off-set. Between the group of three and the single rod, one sees a painted black line extending vertically along the far wall. As a pattern of three lines––copper, black paint, copper—is revealed,

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  • Sam Francis

    Andre Emmerich Gallery

    Sam Francis has made some adjustments in his most recent style. Broad multi-colored strips still crisscross each other on broad blank expanses of canvas—most of the works exhibited in his latest show are in the vicinity of six by nine feet. Five years ago, these color strips had retreated to the edges, where they framed a central emptiness. Since then, they have moved inward and multiplied until now sets of them appear in radiant or parallel formations.

    These developments have affected Francis’ color. In the paintings just previous to these, unmixed acrylics were allowed to float, to expand along

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