• John Walker

    Cunningham Ward Gallery

    John Walker won first prize in the 10th Biennial John Moores Exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England, this year. He is of that generation of British artists bewitched 25 years ago by the power and lucidity of Pollock and his American colleagues. He said to Caroline Tisdall in the Manchester Guardian he thought that Still’s remark to the effect that you can’t make good paintings until you’ve forgotten about Europe was just so much petty nationalism. But in a funny way Walker’s paintings are held back by a too-conscious reverence for a Synthetic Cubist organization of the picture

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  • Marcel Broodthaers

    John Gibson Gallery

    Is there anyone of the postwar generation (of people, not Abstract Expressionists) who does not have a friend or relative who at one time put together a large and ambitious vision of American life with paste, scissors and old copies of Life magazine? Collage-making is as easy (and as difficult) as making a sentence (success in both depends on one’s ability to distinguish shades of meaning). The collage is the quintessential Surrealist format, a means to illustrate the essential meaninglessness or antirationality of the world once man rejects the existence of God. “But how meagre this poetry that

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  • Al Held

    Andre Emmerich Gallery

    Drawing’s two ways of defining space—overlapping and perspective—are played off one against the other in Al Held’s new and ever more refined black and white paintings. By contradicting a spatial situation defined by a perspective cube, for instance, by overlapping part of it with a fragment of a circle or a grid that is understood elsewhere in the painting to be behind that cube, he charges the painting surface with a Hofmannesque push-pull dynamic and turns the most elementary feat of perspective (every child’s first drawing trick: two squares with corners connected by diagonals) into an

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  • Christopher Pratt

    Marlborough | Midtown

    The subject of Christopher Pratt’s lithographs and oils on board is the brief Newfoundland summer, rendered, like the work of some of his fellow Canadians, with an almost painful obsessiveness (brushstrokes are contaminations that must be eliminated). Like some hard-edge Minimalist work, most of Pratt’s paintings, and all of his best ones, could be described in terms of the linear dimensions of a few simple geometric shapes and those shades of blue, gray and buff that drawing paper comes in. He chooses to paint those things around him that obey the discipline of the straight edge: architecture

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  • Ernest Trova

    Pace | 508 W 25th Street

    Ernest Trova shows that Constructivism, too, is entitled to a Gothic phase. His sculptures manage to convey with a Constructivist vocabulary of straight lines and planes something of the melancholy, brooding quality of Northern European art styles in decline. The machined surfaces of his pieces evoke the Constructivist ideal of the work of art as model of abstract thought. But his large and bristling floor pieces, more complicated and redundant than the work of an artist like Caro, offer a proliferation of sharp planes that recalls the spikey complexity of Gothic architecture in form as well as

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  • Buckminster Fuller

    Carl Solway Gallery

    Constructed out of various metal alloys, Buckminster Fuller’s Jitterbug is mounted on a vertical rod and undergoes a complex transformation when pressure is applied to a cuff on the rod. With a shape roughly the proportions of a round lollipop, the piece is comprised of 11 modular units, each unit a cube-octahedron with eight equilateral triangles and six squares.

    Fuller describes the cube-octahedron structure as being in a state of vector equilibrium, because it can, when pressure is directed, fold into its component parts: the icosahedron and octahedron. These units are based on the simplest

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  • Dotty Attie

    A.I.R. Gallery

    Dotty Attie’s four sequences of words and drawings in tiny panels handle narration with a finely jaundiced eye. Drawn in graphite and lightly shaded with colored pencils, the panels’ flow is only occasionally distracted by bright colors representing such indiscretions as blood. The hand-drawn lettering accompanying—though set apart from—the panels has the slight wobble of old hand-set type.

    The visual vocabulary quotes details from Ingres, Caravaggio, and various 19th-century painters of landscape, portrait, and boudoir. These antecedents are so respected as to be suspect. Attie draws upon this,

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  • Donna Dennis

    Holly Solomon Gallery

    Four new constructions by Donna Dennis round out the facades of her earlier Hotel series. Two are based on subway stations, two on cottages. As before, they are scaled to be a little taller than the average person, but now they are finished on the sides, and sometimes back, as well, in loving detail.

    A box on the far wall behind a cottage provided a steady chirp of crickets. This particular cottage’s usual gallery lighting was augmented with three blue spotlights. Reconstruction from a photograph of a Maine bungalow, it was mounted on cinderblocks, and white clapboard is simulated by pencil lines

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  • Max Neuhaus

    The Customs House

    Soft sounds in Max Neuhaus’ Round at the Customs House were running around the two ovals of speakers, one oval inside the other. After disentangling myself from the conversations of people lounging on the floor or leaning against the oval marble platform (at one time the transom over which imports were judged), I moved through the network of face-up speakers, trying to separate out their tones. A low tone was regularly making the rounds, with higher tones also whipping around, but seeming to fade in and out. From my ears’ evidence I couldn’t tell if columns of overtones were supporting and

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  • Harry Callahan

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    The extraordinary thing about Harry Callahan’s career is that, in the full course of it, he has managed to try just about every angle on photography that its history has come up with. Callahan has made photographs that are nearly complete abstractions, painstakingly calculated large-camera landscapes, 35mm pictures of passersby in the street, numberless portraits of his wife—he has even made collages of his pictures and then photographed these. His eclecticism, probably the most extreme photography has known, has been the deliberate result of dividing his work into a series of discrete projects,

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  • David Hockney

    Sonnabend Gallery

    A side effect of photography’s early exclusion from the family of the visual arts has been the scarcity of painters and printmakers who have practiced photography diligently, and of photographers who have worked in the more esteemed media. While it has been fairly common for painters to try sculpture or printmaking seriously, reluctance to cross media has amounted almost to an orthodoxy among photographers. The major photographers who have moved out of the camera’s domain, Cartier-Bresson, for instance, or Brassai, have done so either late in their careers or when they were not producing their

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  • Joan Brown

    Frumkin Gallery

    Mysterious forces have beckoned women since the beginning of time to paint themselves by outlining their eyes, coloring their lips and rouging their cheeks. Indeed, the root of this impulse is as unfathomable as the human need to execute any mark at all. Joan Brown not only paints women exclusively, she “paints” women in the most literal sense. The female subjects, lipsticked, nail-polished, are all set into backdrops of thickly painted objects and colorful primitivized patterns, or in relation to tabloids of events—also backdrops in that they are temporally removed, taking place either in the

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  • Neil Welliver

    Fischbach Gallery

    In the 18th century, the term “picturesque” referred to a landscape which looked as if it had come straight out of a Claudian painting. The natural landscape, ranked subservient to the painted one, was not seen as a source, merely as an analogy. Later in the century when this term was definitionally inverted to mean a scene worthy of depiction, nature, though viewed as foundational, again carried with it derogatory shadings. “Picturesque” implied a breed of perfection and prettiness which was not “beautiful” in that painting could capture it too easily.

    Neil Welliver’s large-scaled landscapes

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  • Saul Steinberg

    Sidney Janis and Betty Parsons Galleries

    Saul Steinberg seemed to be cleaning out the attic with his double show, and the result was something like a retrospective. There are sketches dating from as early as 1943, done in Kunming and influenced by Peter Arno. There is evidence of all the roads considered but not taken by Steinberg: the particular tilted space of his drawings of the late ’40s, which seems dated now, the more cartoonlike treatment of the human figure in those same years, and the fingerprint “passport photos” of 1952, among others. Through it all runs a growing assurance that what he is about is something more than

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  • Joan Mitchell

    Xavier Fourcade Gallery

    Joan Mitchell’s new paintings suggested plants. All along, Mitchell’s work has often seemed to refer to Monet’s waterlilies—in its grouping of large canvases into three- and foursomes, in its complicated green and blue surfaces, in its control of individual sections of canvas by the deployment of the right planes and accents of color. This is more true than ever for the new work. Some of the titles refer to plants outright: Straw and Weeds. The profusion of greens—emerald; forest, bottle, grass—and the luxuriant variety of Mitchell’s brushstrokes contribute to the effect of leaves and stems, of

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  • Eve Sonneman

    Castelli Gallery | Uptown

    The first Eve Sonneman photographic sequence I ever saw was an intriguing construct involving boats on what appeared to be the Central Park Lake. It was full of the mood of a lazy afternoon row—and of some mystery encompassing two moments, two positions in space, joined in the middle by the artist’s intervention. In each view there was a fragment of a person in the photographer’s boat, and where the edges of the pictures met an almost complete figure was created.

    That was several years ago, and Sonneman seemed like an artist to watch. But her latest work, 30 pairs of color prints all involving

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