reviews

  • Gordon Matta-Clark

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)

    Gordon Matta-Clark has been interpreted as a socially conscious artist who ironically points up the problems of modern urbanism by tactics such as supplying oxygen to “stuffy” or “gasping” people on Wall Street, overseeing delightfully sensuous banquets under Brooklyn Bridge, splitting open an abandoned office building to welcome in the warm sunlight, and making art out of soon-to-be-demolished or soon-to-be-reconverted architecture, robbed of its once socially useful function. Recently, in Chicago, Matta-Clark invaded what is scheduled to become the new Museum of Contemporary Art Annex, a

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  • Michael Jantzen

    Studio Show

    In the woods, ecology seems real and believable; in the city, it often seems more like a clever advertising ploy. Michael Jantzen has lived all his life in the woods of Carlyle, Illinois; there, his architectural structures make a lot of sense. When he exhibits his conceptual projects in the city, however, they can become the seat of a communications crossfire.

    Jantzen’s architectural structures started out as sculptures, but they became increasingly large in scale until finally he was walking around inside them. The largest such one, currently being completed, is one in which Jantzen and his

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  • Bruce Wood

    Chicago Filmmakers

    Bruce Wood is a master at the creation of an individual frame—photo, film, or painting made from photo. He uses images in all three media which are black and white with amazing variations in gray tones and compositional variety. These images originate in an initial filming of, for instance, two square inches of curdled Hershey’s syrup or ashes mixed with broken glass behind a magnifying paperweight. Ultimately scaled up from miniature to gigantic size, such a source might then become the mirror of some great rippling pool with dancing light beams on a screen. In a subsequent photo made by shooting

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  • Phyllis Bramson

    Marianne Deson Gallery

    Phyllis Bramson’s work always presents lots of stuff and lots of activity—both almost a diversionary tactic. Her 1974–75 icons had a heavy, gross assertiveness. Dedicated to various artists, they were assemblages of made, found, bought and altered objects in which bangles and Christmas wrappings decorated “kicking” imagery like piggyback figures, legs outspread. The accompanying studies featured flickering chalk lines and object-laden shelves glued to the bottom of each sheet of paper, and these were only a little bit tamed by being flat against the wall.

    Her shelf pieces came in 1976–77. No

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  • Ron Kohn

    Allan Frumkin Gallery

    Photography is always most interesting when it accomplishes things which nothing else can do: Ron Kohn is involved with one of photography’s earliest discovered uniquenesses: the camera’s ability to record light. Typically, in painting and sculpture, light is known only by its effect. In contrast, Kohn shows light with a variety of characteristics, and always as a separate substance. He works in the tradition of Aaron Siskind, which allied Moholy Nagy’s formal photogram to the non-.formal concerns of straight shooting. Thus, Kohn’s camera reports light as a substance which coexists with man and

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