reviews

  • Max Neuhaus

    Times Square

    Ever since Duchamp, artists have been exploiting strategies of esthetic dislocation, introducing “nonart” into art contexts and art into nonart domains. By now, the range of forms of questioning the nature of art has achieved a kind of antimatter symmetry with the overall enterprise of making art for esthetic ends. In many sectors of the arts a “situational” outlook has confounded perceivers’ esthetic expectations, complicating to the point of interchanging meanings in art, criticism, and life. Max Neuhaus, for one, has been sending out situational art signals for some time, through a most apt

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  • Charles Ginnever, Peter Forakis, Tom Doyle and Mark Di Suvero

    Sculpture Now

    Upstairs at Sculpture Now are early works; downstairs are recent works by four sculptors who have moved toward the minimal. With the exception of Mark Di Suvero’s Thataway, each piece is direct and forceful, eliminating the thrills of the ’60s for the spareness of the ’70s.

    All are large pieces, and again, excepting Di Suvero, are gestural in that they are directional, shooting off invisible planes into extended space. Three Steel Plates by Charles Ginnever pursues a line of investigation begun with his Zeus installation in the same space in 1975. It fills the space with only inches to spare;

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  • Arthur Weyhe

    55 Mercer Gallery

    Combining monumental scale with an air of intimacy, Arthur Weyhe has created public sculpture with a private expression. The raw poles of his large construction invite all the familiar comparisons with totems and primitive structures. As a sample of the best of this work, it doesn’t deny such implications but transcends them by focusing on a precise and satisfying arrangement of elements.

    This large untitled piece is one of few works that are as striking indoors as outdoors. Structural triads support an open network of “ceiling” poles, strung along the top of each supporting unit. It is an

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  • Ibram Lassaw

    Zabriskie Gallery

    To say that Ibram Lassaw’s new work remains within Abstract Expressionist parameters is not to devalue it. Free of the pressures of avant-gardism, Lassaw, in his first show in 10 years, is able to renew and refine what to many is a dead sculptural language, hardly a lesser task for one of its prophets.

    Most of the 17 pieces in the present show are cagelike in form, welded grids of thin brass rods. “Cage,” the connotation, is wrong; though labyrinthine, the sculpture liberates. Bright, aerated, it is a magical design of reflection and shadow. It seems to form itself through the interplay of linear

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  • Jennifer Bartlett

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    In her last show Jennifer Bartlett covered the gallery walls with 1000 or so 1-foot squares. The squares, which she has been working with for some years, were 16-gauge steel with a white enamel base and a light silk-screened grid; upon the squares she painted (with the 25 colors of a standard model airplane lacquer) in a variety of styles. The squares formed a contextual grid on the wall. No one narrative was prescribed but the whole made best sense when read top to bottom, row by row, left to right. Given that reading and given the title of the show (“Rhapsody”), it was apparent that Bartlett

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  • Ger Van Elk

    Goodman Gallery

    Ger Van Elk is a Dutch painter well known in Europe but not in America, and it is easy to see why: the work is adamantly European, informed by both Dadaism and Surrealism. It is tactical in a Dadaist way: there is the paradox of the readymade and there is spurious logic (one work of ’72 is called The Rose More Beautiful than Art but Difficult, Therefore Art Is Splendid); there is perverse appropriation (in C’est moi qui fait la musique of ’73, a photo of a piano and pianist is deformed to fit the frame); and there is the exhibitionism of Dada (the titles insist, “c’est moi”; most of the portraits

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  • Chris Burden

    Ronald Feldman Gallery

    Chris Burden’s current show, C.B. T. V., consists of a single piece, a reconstruction of the first television ever designed. Its plan dates from the second decade of the 20th century, and actually involves two similar machines, linked by cables. It is operated, auspiciously, once a day.

    The machine is much like a Rube Goldberg cartoon reconstructed. It is quite complex, and Burden does not conceal its intricacy behind polished mahogany or brushed aluminum instrument panels. Clearly, its mechanical complexity is meant to be seen, to contrast absurdly with the trivial television image produced.

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  • Ed Kerns

    Rosa Esman Gallery

    Ed Kerns’ new paintings are like ruins of paintings, jury-rigged so as to be presentable. I do not mean this pejoratively. Layers of disused imagery show through the surfaces, layers of fabric which have been gashed in places, and then sewn back together with crude, wide stitches. Pocked, stained, gouged and otherwise damaged, these works recall rooms with crumbling plaster, patinas of paint on archaic machinery, and old frescoes badly restored.

    In one sense Kerns’ painting are documents of frustration. Like the work of a number of contemporary abstract painters, these pieces suggest endless

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  • Bruce Boice

    Sonnabend Gallery

    Over the last few years, Bruce Boice’s paintings have grown progressively more complex. His largest jump, from, in a sense, solo to symphonic composition, has occurred between his last and his current shows. Boice’s works are still aggregates of small, modular canvases, but there are many more of these in each of the new pictures—between nine and twelve per piece, as compared to three or four in the past. The overall works are simple squares and rectangles, without the irregular perimeters which characterized his earlier triptychs. On the inside, however, he has painted uncommon triangles and

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  • Joyce Kozloff

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery

    Using assorted techniques (lithography, collage, painting on canvas, drawing on paper) and assorted materials (silk, paper, paint, crayons, oil markers, colored pencils) Joyce Kozloff puts Islamic and other traditional decorative motifs through their paces. The eloquence of the resulting patterns comes from her instinctive alternation of stimulation and repose, of near confusion and clarity.

    The most fascinating thing about pattern-making is that the artist’s mental inner workings are visible. Rhythm and color decisions have to be made within a given framework. Kozloff adds another level to this

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  • Susan Weil

    Parsons Dreyfuss Gallery

    Susan Weil’s work with mixed inks on rag paper explores the movement and change in natural elements, time and light of day. The horizon line, which is present in all the works, defines them as landscapes. The passage of time is described in transmutations of tone intensity and through physical processes inflicted on the paper, such as crumpling, folding and tearing.

    There are three series which, when read sequentially, move us in small and large leaps from one state of day/nightlight to another. Onset and Sequens each have a succession of four sheets of paper from which a triangular section has

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  • Moshe Kupferman

    Bertha Urdang Gallery

    I have often wondered what Robert Motherwell meant by a painter’s and a painting’s “ethical consciousness.” But after seeing Moshe Kupferman work, I began to understand. Kupferman’s recent exhibition included paintings and drawings from 1968 to the present. There is no discernible chronological progression, simply because his active but cool surface and line remain unchanged.

    The interrelation between the paintings and the drawings is such that neither is forced into parentheses. There is no great interstice between Kupferman’s expression in paint and color and his expression with graphite on

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  • Mary Beth Edelson

    A.I.R. Gallery

    The Women’s Movement has its own history, its own mythology, but understandably, its substance is shallow by mere lack of time. Because women as a category of humanity have been around quite a bit longer than their movement, martyrs do not have to be loaned or created; female victims of oppression can be found in any and all periods of history. Perhaps more importantly, the image of woman is central to, if not the very center of, mythological prehistory.

    Mary Beth Edelson has investigated the witch hunts and burnings which took place throughout Europe from the 12th to the 18th centuries. Her show

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  • Bart Robbett

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    Bart Robbett’s installation consists of three black plastic-covered booths and two unboxed electronic set-ups which have to be turned on to dispense the experiences described by the printed titles.

    Inside the narrow booth titled Projection Booth Projection is a screen on which is projected a projector in the act of continuously projecting white leader film. Working on the same principle as the camera obscura, this booth becomes a metaphor for vision. Like the booth, the eye is an enclosure with opaque walls, a circular hole and a chamber behind.

    Slow Burn III also uses photographic technology as

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