• Ilse Getz

    Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery

    For over 30 years, Ilse Getz has worked and exhibited extensively—if sporadically—both here and in Europe, without ever achieving the kind of recognition that an artist of her ability deserves. She has never pushed her work before the public, while she has always enjoyed the friendship and esteem of other artists. An independent woman, she has never had to prove to herself that she was either a woman or an artist. Perhaps her independence has robbed her of the credit she deserves. If she were a feminist involved in female subject matter, and not just a woman artist, she would undoubtedly have

    Read more
  • Sol LeWitt

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    Sol LeWitt’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art is a retrospective that never calls itself one. It brings together works from 1962 to 1978 in an installation which, as good silent partner, doesn’t detract from the art on view.

    It makes clear, for example, the absence of a linear development in LeWitt’s work at least after 1965, which I find refreshing. Ideas were picked up, dropped, works made, destroyed, made again at a later date; it is impossible to draw the deterministic line, to say it all went like this.

    We’re faced with ideas for art and the forms they were given, in some cases, 13

    Read more
  • Kate Millett

    Noho Gallery

    Kate Millett’s “The Trial of Sylvia Likens” wasn’t the kind of exhibition you expect to see in Soho, Noho, P.S. 1 or in any other New York art context. You didn’t just slip into it. It was clear, inelegant and meaty, and conveyed heavy personal feelings. It twisted your head around, and that appealed to me. Of course, for anyone used to confrontations with Minimal art it would be easy to hate the show for the way it played to the many, for the footprints on the floor telling you where to go, the taped narration, the scrawl on the walls, even the coverage in the Voice. Art, thank god, has gotten

    Read more
  • Gerhard Richter

    Sperone Westwater Fischer Gallery

    I’ve never believed, as Gerhard Richter once claimed, that pictures can be made according to recipes, without personal involvement, that the making of pictures isn’t an artistic act. I’ve never thought this mission impossible ever had anything to do with how or why Richter paints. The remark is 13 years old, but it’s been quoted again on an information sheet for his recent exhibition. It comes from a “textcollage” Richter made with Sigmar Polke, another artist, in 1965 (it was later exhibited in Hannover), when they were both students at the art academy in Düsseldorf. Their ’60s tabula rasa was

    Read more
  • Heidi Glück

    Bertha Urdang Gallery

    Writing this review has been a wrestling match with works I felt at first gave me too little to go on. Heidi Glück’s paintings looked too skeletal, the signposts too scant: there were lines, geometric forms, empty blocks of space between forms—the forms your eyes sketched into the empty spaces. You read from left to right, covered ground or kept time with your eyes which were held in, and sent back and forth, by the clearly marked edges of the canvas.

    Some of the longer paintings on canvas look like the last possible paintings one could make short of working directly on the wall, as if they have

    Read more
  • John Walker

    Cunningham Ward

    John Walker’s paintings are Studio School, Tenth Street, ’50s. The scale is heroic. The geometric rectangles must be read as antigeometric. The color is predominantly earthy, muddy, primal. For the added touch of personal synthesis there are the pieces of canvas collage out of Cubism, the tentative black lines from Matisse. Slapdash and thrown together with machismo, these paintings rage tough. The philosophical discourse that envelops them must be dragged out of the existential closet. The references, the ambitions, the influences are all ripe for devastating parody. It’s as if the artist has

    Read more
  • Harvey Quaytman

    David McKee Gallery

    Harvey Quaytman’s paintings are very curious. He showed a whole suite of them, every one of which seemed to me exactly the same in shape and structure. Normally this would not be unusual, except that the shape and structure repeated was so unusual. The paintings were a conglomeration of small, irregular shapes near the floor with one very long and narrow section which jutted upward almost out of view. Of the smaller shapes, only one had a generally nameable look: it was placed on the far right of the long narrow member, and had an arched upper right-hand side. The question one asks about this

    Read more
  • Larry Bell and Eric Orr

    Marian Goodman Gallery | New York

    If you can’t get your wild, visionary project financed, you can always make smaller, attractive art objects in its place. We get used to grandiose monuments which never get past the planning stage, and we take pleasure in seeing the scraps that went into their planning (generally this is not thought to be a perverse pleasure). The unfulfilled projects are usually sincere enough, no matter how unnecessary; we believe the person who envisions the prospect of a gargantuan hole in the desert. Sincerity takes the form of fast, hard, sloppy drawings and scribblings over geographic charts. There is a

    Read more
  • Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison

    Ronald Feldman Gallery

    On the other hand, there are Helen and Newton Harrison. Their show attempted to fuse what may be considered as art with what is not art. And without a tinge of irony or humor. As it turns out, the art part is absolutely dispensable, while the rest is of considerable interest. The Harrisons “work” with earth, performing reclamations of wastes, for instance, moving compost materials into barren areas of upper New York State. (The fact that the land is in Artpark is irrelevant.) These areas will be seeded to become “variable meadows” of trees, berry patches and orchard. (One wonders who, if anyone,

    Read more
  • The Battle of Chile

    Film Forum

    Although I think that The Battle of Chile is a stunningly conceived and brilliantly executed work of art, I know I am doing it an injustice by reviewing it under the condition of art, in this magazine. Its proper place is probably not here. I feel that I can “use” it because I can consider it both as high art and historical document. But what its true use might be in a Third World nation, as a meaning in a Third World culture, I am unable to judge. It is a film which can exist solely on the periphery in our culture, simply because it is Marxist, pro-working class, anti-imperialist and clearly

    Read more
  • Richard Tuttle

    Betty Parsons Gallery

    Richard Tuttle’s 1975 exhibition at the Whitney provoked Hilton Kramer—not widely known for his sense of humor—into writing what unwittingly may be his most entertaining review ever, in which the venerable New York Times critic composed adorable word plays on the minimalness of Tuttle’s art. If Tuttle accomplished nothing else in his career, what he did for Kramer’s reputation at that moment would be enough. But Kramer’s vituperative criticism was lighthearted and mild compared to what other writers made of Tuttle and the organizer of that exhibition, the then Whitney curator Marcia Tucker. The

    Read more
  • Mel Bochner

    Sonnabend Gallery

    It is unlikely that those who speak of the beauty of mathematics have in mind the recent wall paintings of Mel Bochner. They may recall Matisse’s environmental papiers collés, Monet’s Orangerie Nympheas, even Sol LeWitt’spastel wall drawings, but embarrassingly not a single formula, theorem or equation. Perhaps it is not so much embarrassment as guilt for just enjoying these paintings so much. Bochner revealed himself as a brilliant colorist, and while it has been noted to death that he owes a great debt to Constructivism, these new paintings display as well a surprising and happy affinity for

    Read more
  • Sylvia Sleigh

    A.I.R. Gallery

    I have always been guarded in my appreciation of the work of Sylvia Sleigh and the group of like-minded figurative painters around her. I have sometimes suspected that we support the courage of anyone who goes against the mainstream, and in our efforts to be objective in our criticism we bend over backward to be fair; if it looks bad at first sight, we try harder to find something good in it—the Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome. Yet Sleigh’s recent series of portraits of women artists so offended me that, finally, I turned my back on the pictures to look elsewhere for the reasons for her vogue.

    Read more
  • “Bad Painting”

    The New Museum

    The essence of “Bad Painting” is to create a controversy through a controversial title. The viewer’s obligation is to decide if a controversy really exists. Represented and defined as “paintings outside the mainstream,” the works included are definitely hard to classify in terms of traditional painterly competence. Most include the human figure, and their common link is that none represents the figure in classic good proportion: Does this mean the artist couldn’t draw even if he wanted to, or that good drawing is not essential after all? Somewhere beneath the murk of defining what is mainstream

    Read more
  • Stephanie Brody Lederman

    Nassau County Museum of Fine Arts

    As a narrative artist, Stephanie Brody Lederman received a unique opportunity to voice her point of view when her one-person show at Nassau County Museum of Fine Arts became a political event. Owing to recent county appointments, the management of the Roslyn-based museum changed hands as her show went up, removing a highly innovative and competent director and curator and replacing them with political appointees of dubious artistic credentials. It was a sudden and shaking upheaval, unwanted and unwarranted at best, irreplaceably damaging to the future of an increasingly fine museum. On a Sunday

    Read more
  • Hugh Kepets

    Fischbach Gallery

    What is most striking about Hugh Kepets’ new paintings is his insistence on the ambiguity of architectural spaces rendered with total precision. Kepets takes a particular set of close-up details and subjects them to a thorough study. Painted with careful highlight and shadow, each area should be molded into deep three-dimensional space, but isn’t. Paradoxically, each scene remains clearly representational of depth and planes, but reads as a composite of well-balanced geometrical surfaces. Kepets employs rich colors to create a uniformly balanced range of tones, much too potent for realism, yet

    Read more