reviews

  • Giorgio Cavallon

    Gruenebaum and Patricia Learmonth galleries

    Giorgio Cavallon was represented this spring by three large shows. Early paintings, from the ’50s, were exhibited at Learmonth. A much better group of new paintings were shown at Gruenebaum. (There was a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, too, but I did not see it.)

    The main feature of Cavallon’s paintings is their presentation of a certain, but ambiguous, kind of light. Hilton Kramer, in an unusually poetic mood, calls this emanation “a delicate white radiance, romantic and other-worldly.” Almost all the more interesting paintings have an underlayer suggestive of grid-like structures, blocked

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  • Robert Arneson

    Allan Frumkin Gallery

    Most of us have made clay ashtrays. It is an almost primal manipulation of material—the formation of the useful out of the unstructured earthen lump. Although Robert Arneson reacquaints us with this experience (the archetypal bourgeois child’s initiation into “creativity”), he would probably laugh at any deep primal significance. The “giving of form to the formless,” as if children were little gods out of Genesis, doesn’t sound quite right because it’s too serious. Arneson knows that a medium like ceramics can’t support metaphysical speculation, and he refuses to play his hand with a straight

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  • Valerie Jaudon

    Holly Solomon Gallery

    Valerie Jaudon’s paintings brought something to my attention which is difficult to explain. (This difficulty is not what interests me, however.) The best way of putting it is that they do not seem to be abstract as much as representational of the abstract. They do not “represent” other abstract paintings or objects, nor do they parody them. They do not turn abstraction into a cartoon of itself. I don’t mean that her paintings relate to abstraction as realist painting does to its ostensible subject matter. The paintings do not represent an instance of the abstract, of abstraction. They present

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  • Marco Gastini

    John Weber Gallery

    I know nothing about Marco Gastini. I did not ask anything about him. I have never seen any of his other work, and I have never read anything about him. So there, in the empty gallery, I had nothing to fall back on. I could be a naif. I prepared myself to be “uninitiated,” and operated under those conditions.

    The show consisted of a large number of different-sized, but rather smallish canvases. These were arranged at random, as far as I could tell, although there was a vague crosslike arrangement on one of the walls. Each wall was covered from top to bottom, although not necessarily side to side

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  • Blinky Palermo

    Heiner Friedrich Gallery

    Colors ricochet from painting to painting in the exhibition of the last work of Blinky Palermo, who died early this year. It is an exhilarating exhibition, making one deeply regret that we will see no more new work by this young German artist. Conceived in terms of an installation, the paintings in the show number 15, ranging in size from 1 x 2 meters to 21 x 16 1/2 centimeters. Several individual works are comprised of three or four of the small panels. Each painting is done on a rectangular aluminum plate, mounted in relief so that the edges cast shadows, giving the colors a mobile independence

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  • Robert Wilson

    Cherry Lane Theater

    Robert Wilson’s celebrated dreamlike extravaganzas, such as his twelve-hour masterpiece The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin, or the recent and far less satisfying Einstein on the Beach, have been symphonically textured spectacles, bloated with theatrical ambition, if not always pregnant with meaning.

    His new work, I Was Sitting On My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating is a deflation and a consolidation, a rather modest chamber piece. But it represents a critical development in Wilson’s art and a salutary departure from once-outstanding theatrical inventions which have since

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  • Patrick Ireland

    Parsons-Dreyfuss Gallery

    Patrick Ireland’s drawings result from a coordination of distinct (but not disparate) impulses. The systematic, even systemic, ordering of elements is a prominent factor in his art, but not as prominent as in that of his American contemporaries—“preconceptualists” such as Sol LeWitt, Mel Bochner, and Dorothea Rockburne, the thrust of whose work has been the explication of information as image. These artists’ recent tendency to stress the magic aspect of their art (paradoxically but deliberately enhancing the impact of the information) has long been a characteristic of Ireland’s work.

    The drawings

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  • Robert Rauschenberg

    Leo Castelli and Sonnabend Galleries

    Coinciding with his Museum of Modern Art retrospective, Robert Rauschenberg’s downtown show of new work was retrospective as well. Rauschenberg’s recent Scales and Spreads are large assemblages that incorporate virtually all the categories of images and objects we know from his pictures of the early and middle ’60s. A necessarily abbreviated list would include anatomical diagrams, athletes, birds and birds’ wings, celebrities, chairs, electronic circuitry, ladders, light bulbs, oars, boats and sails, tires and exotic animals. That Rauschenberg should return to these items is significant, since

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  • Mia Westerlund

    Castelli Gallery | Uptown

    Mia Westerlund’s June show consisted of two large sculptures, each made up of massive concrete wedges. In one piece, four horizontal wedges composed an oblong diamond capped with sheets of roofing copper; the vertical slabs of the other piece bore heavy plates of brownish steel which had been set in flush with the surface. Despite these sculptures’ apparent simplicity, every part of them participates in playing out a series of rich antiphonies—between mass and detail, fixity and mobility, structure and embellishment, newness and decay, monumentality and transparency.

    These antithetical qualities

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  • Richard Van Buren

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    Though it may be unfair to class Richard Van Buren as a provincial artist (he has spent equal amounts of time working in California and New York) his sculpture’s uniqueness rests in the novelty of its materials, in a way that much work from the Mid-, South-, and Far West tends to do. Perhaps provincial fascination with unusual tools results from an absence of that competition with history, that overburdening of culture monumentalized that New York artists are forced to suffer and that makes thoroughbreds of them.

    An artist who feels history’s test acutely understands that there is no exit to be

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