reviews

  • Claire Moore

    Robert Freidus Gallery

    With a hand reminiscent of old Dutch masters, Claire Moore sketches visual diaries of places she has been, and records multitudes of facts about each place. The results are an intimate diary, a journal compounded of fact and impression. With changes in mood reflected in the energy of each line, her narrative drawings contain an essence of personality that is particular, specific, and simultaneously ageless and archetypal. A product of 22 years of drawing and labeling, these “Interiors, Exteriors” have the freshness of newer works by younger artists who have just discovered the fascination of

    Read more
  • Bill Lundberg

    John Gibson Gallery

    On entering the gallery to see Bill Lundberg’s latest show, eight disembodied figures begin gabbling at you from the floor. Stuck in the boards, visible from shoulder up only, three garrulous strangers come as a shock. In living color (and in living motion), they speak in simultaneous layers of normal conversational tones. The disorientation of their condition is Lundberg’s tour de force; all 5 works in the show deal with a similar shock of the familiar set unexpectedly aside for the viewer’s examination.

    Lundberg’s medium is film—and plastic and tables and chairs and projectors and mirrors—but

    Read more
  • Donald Judd

    Heiner Friedrich Gallery

    An oft-quoted tenet of Minimalism reads: “Characteristic of a gestalt is that once it is established, all the information about it, qua gestalt, is exhausted.” I thought crudely, and not entirely facetiously, that one could read, for “gestalt,” a “Minimalist sculptor like Donald Judd,” so nearly is the box an unequivocal sign of Judd sculpture and, metonymically, of Judd himself. What new can be said?

    The new show is new; the work, though not unfamiliar, is defamiliarized. Seventeen oblong boxes, mostly open to us, are set evenly along the wall, just below eye-level. The box is a format, within

    Read more
  • Michael Bishop

    Light Gallery

    At first sight, the color in Michael Bishop’s photographs seems merely compositional—a tool to accent (not describe) figures and a way to flatten space (in the mutuality of color). The collapse of space, its compaction on the surface, was, of course, a profound reform in painting, and I assumed that Bishop had transferred the strategy, now a convention, to photography—which seemed trivial. But this is not the case, or at least not entirely: color is a more complex issue here.

    The photographs are landscapes that question that category. Landscape is more and more cityscape and our vista

    Read more
  • Ralph Gibson and Jan Dibbets

    Leo Castelli Gallery

    In 1976 Ralph Gibson showed a series of black-and-white photographs of parts or details of things (the edge of a building, the contour of a body) in which there was a vacillation between the incident of the subject and that of the print (traces of its constituent chemicals). Description of subject passed to definition of medium as the terms—the details—seemed to apply to both. In these pages Phil Patton noted “the way grain and texture occupy the same level of fineness without interference.” I think there was interference but of a sort that was sublimated in the commutation of subject and

    Read more
  • Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid

    Protest in art is Vitaly Komar’s and Alexander Melamid’s passport to excess. Unlike other artists who equate criticism of the cultural order with criticism of the social order, Komar and Melamid have no program. But, like other socially engaged artists, they do have targets. To obtain a list of them, simply get a roster of U.N. nations and leaders.

    At their recent show, Komar and Melamid have a variety of works on view, most conspicuously seven canvases that are variations on a van Gogh self-portrait. The subjects of the black-and-white portraits—Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Hua

    Read more
  • Jim Pomeroy

    Artists Space

    Protest against art is the subject for the fertile mind of Jim Pomeroy. A Bay Area performance artist and malcontent, Pomeroy is fluent in the language of the technocrat, cognizant of the vocabulary of the modernist, wired for the message of the mass market, geared for the timing of the standup comic. Facility in one of these domains is to be expected of the artist in the age of mechanical art (Pomeroy’s own bowdlerization of Walter Benjamin), but Pomeroy exercises his facility in all four—and in concert. His is an art against art. A little dialectical, a little diabolical.

    His recent performance

    Read more
  • Paul Sarkisian

    If Jim Pomeroy is grappling with the production of work in the age of mechanical art, then Paul Sarkisian is still at square one, with the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. There should be a delicious enigma in his trompe l’oeil paintings, but in view of the amusing 19th century fool-the-eye canvases of Peto and Haberle, it’s hard to cipher Sarkisian’s acrylic-on-linen sobriety. The paintings are . . . dazzlingly well painted but about as warm as a deep freeze. His limpid colors are pure Mediterranean: teal blues, warm whites, healthy flesh pinks. Why the chill? Maybe his ideas

    Read more
  • Valerie Jaudon

    Holly Solomon Gallery

    Where Sarkisian is cold, Valerie Jaudon is detached. Her paintings don’t invite you into them, nor do they attach themselves to you. The seven works in her recent show are commanding, imperious. Emanating confidence and assured of close scrutiny, they radiate self-esteem. These words aren’t used to describe the hauteur of an aristocrat, but the dignity of the didact who must remain separate in order to be instructive. The paintings can’t risk being your friends, they won’t presume to be your betters.

    Named for towns in Mississippi (Jaudon’s birthplace)—Courtland, Waveland, Yocona, Capell, Leland,

    Read more
  • Betty Parsons

    Truman and Kornblee galleries

    Betty Parsons made sculpture in Paris years before she opened her gallery. Today, it turns out, she is still putting sculptures together out of the flotsam that turns up on the beach outside her Long Island house. They are small, cockeyed, craftsy-looking pieces, painted chaotically. Part of their aim, I think, is to look amateurish, and most important, precedentless—to seem to stand outside the polemic-filled arena where so many professional artists feel obliged to work. They are nonetheless filled with vague references of all kinds, and also make one think of the work of certain younger

    Read more
  • Ellen Levy and Susan Wilmarth

    Bertha Urdang Gallery and Rosa Esman Gallery

    Though Ellen Levy and Susan Wilmarth make very different looking pictures, each does a kind of abstraction that is contemporary and terribly academic. Levy’s pictures have long strips of wood (long, bare 1- or 2-by-4s) attached to them, usually along one side. Certain parts come very close to these wood strips in color, and there is usually a mild illusion that the painted parts are actually more wood, or that the wood has just been painted with trompe l’oeil precision. The remaining area is generally a field of dull beige, gray or yellow, painted brushily, or scraped so that a different colored

    Read more
  • Abbie Zabar

    Blum Helman Gallery

    Abbie Zabar makes pictures that look like pale and precious watercolors out of bits of cut paper. They are all landscape, for the most part near freeways or quiet remote airports, but occasionally they include views of open, rolling countryside in England or France. As far as I know, Zabar has not exhibited often, and there is much about these pictures that is amateurish: their benign subject matter, perhaps primarily the association one can’t help making between them and the traditional genre landscapes of the amateur Sunday painter. Nonetheless, Zabar’s pictures are a good deal more intelligent

    Read more
  • Robert Rauschenberg

    Leo Castelli Gallery

    Robert Rauschenberg’s six “Publicons”—“public icons”—are box-sculptures hung on the wall and meant to be manipulated, not just looked at. Each piece begins as an inscrutable, blank white cabinet which unfolds, usually in several directions and very colorfully. The inside of each, where most of the work is, is a collage of patterned fabrics and utilitarian objects typical of Rauschenberg. Also typically, these items—an oar, a bicycle wheel, makeup mirrors on extendable brackets—appear in odd contexts or unusual colors, and hence become objects of irony.

    The central device with which the “Publicons”

    Read more
  • Elizabeth Murray

    Elizabeth Murray’s new paintings seem to polarize people into opposing camps, and they have a way of polarizing the viewer within himself. Their intensity rubs off on you, and you can’t help but feel very strongly about them. It may not even be a matter of liking them or not; they have a force worth reckoning with, and they demand to be taken seriously. Murray seems to have developed her art quite independently, outside of any established style; the work gets increasingly idiosyncratic and eccentric in every way, probably to sustain an extremely dynamic level of emotional expressiveness.

    Part of

    Read more
  • Edward Mayer

    O.K. Harris Gallery

    With unfinished strips of wood lath as his only construction material, Edward Myer weaves large towers and huts that combine a blunt, overall sense of solidity with visible internal structure. While countless comparisons with other artists come to mind at first glance—early Aycock, Stackhouse, self-contained Winsors and modular Ferarras—somehow Mayer’s pieces are strong enough to emerge as the work of a thorough, knowledgeable individual worth watching.

    Unexpected details save the pieces from a too-simple overall profile. Basically, each sculpture has a fairly simple shape so this

    Read more
  • Don Dudley

    Pam Adler Gallery

    Working with modular 2-by-8-inch forms of homosote blocks, Don Dudley performs variations on simple, sparse configurations. Nailing the blocks to the gallery wall, he carefully orders their arrangement in several kinds of patterns. Arranged lengthwise, the blocks line up in long panels; in two instances, they are arranged symmetrically in pyramidal formations, narrowing from top to bottom, Color is monochrome, in variations of gray tones brushed lightly onto the surface, or in pale silvery greens and plum. Perfect order combined with understated color reinforces the total lack of movement or

    Read more
  • Claire Moore

    Robert Freidus Gallery

    With a hand reminiscent of old Dutch masters, Claire Moore sketches visual diaries of places she has been, and records multitudes of facts about each place. The results are an intimate diary, a journal compounded of fact and impression. With changes in mood reflected in the energy of each line, her narrative drawings contain an essence of personality that is particular, specific, and simultaneously ageless and archetypal. A product of 22 years of drawing and labeling, these “Interiors, Exteriors” have the freshness of newer works by younger artists who have just discovered the fascination of

    Read more
  • Bill Lundberg

    John Gibson Gallery

    On entering the gallery to see Bill Lundberg’s latest show, eight disembodied figures begin gabbling at you from the floor. Stuck in the boards, visible from shoulder up only, three garrulous strangers come as a shock. In living color (and in living motion), they speak in simultaneous layers of normal conversational tones. The disorientation of their condition is Lundberg’s tour de force; all 5 works in the show deal with a similar shock of the familiar set unexpectedly aside for the viewer’s examination.

    Lundberg’s medium is film—and plastic and tables and chairs and projectors and mirrors—but

    Read more
  • Donald Judd

    Heiner Friedrich Gallery

    An oft-quoted tenet of Minimalism reads: “Characteristic of a gestalt is that once it is established, all the information about it, qua gestalt, is exhausted.” I thought crudely, and not entirely facetiously, that one could read, for “gestalt,” a “Minimalist sculptor like Donald Judd,” so nearly is the box an unequivocal sign of Judd sculpture and, metonymically, of Judd himself. What new can be said?

    The new show is new; the work, though not unfamiliar, is defamiliarized. Seventeen oblong boxes, mostly open to us, are set evenly along the wall, just below eye-level. The box is a format, within

    Read more
  • Michael Bishop

    Light Gallery

    At first sight, the color in Michael Bishop’s photographs seems merely compositional—a tool to accent (not describe) figures and a way to flatten space (in the mutuality of color). The collapse of space, its compaction on the surface, was, of course, a profound reform in painting, and I assumed that Bishop had transferred the strategy, now a convention, to photography—which seemed trivial. But this is not the case, or at least not entirely: color is a more complex issue here.

    The photographs are landscapes that question that category. Landscape is more and more cityscape and our vista

    Read more
  • Ralph Gibson and Jan Dibbets

    Leo Castelli Gallery

    In 1976 Ralph Gibson showed a series of black-and-white photographs of parts or details of things (the edge of a building, the contour of a body) in which there was a vacillation between the incident of the subject and that of the print (traces of its constituent chemicals). Description of subject passed to definition of medium as the terms—the details—seemed to apply to both. In these pages Phil Patton noted “the way grain and texture occupy the same level of fineness without interference.” I think there was interference but of a sort that was sublimated in the commutation of subject and

    Read more
  • Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid

    Protest in art is Vitaly Komar’s and Alexander Melamid’s passport to excess. Unlike other artists who equate criticism of the cultural order with criticism of the social order, Komar and Melamid have no program. But, like other socially engaged artists, they do have targets. To obtain a list of them, simply get a roster of U.N. nations and leaders.

    At their recent show, Komar and Melamid have a variety of works on view, most conspicuously seven canvases that are variations on a van Gogh self-portrait. The subjects of the black-and-white portraits—Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Hua

    Read more
  • Jim Pomeroy

    Artists Space

    Protest against art is the subject for the fertile mind of Jim Pomeroy. A Bay Area performance artist and malcontent, Pomeroy is fluent in the language of the technocrat, cognizant of the vocabulary of the modernist, wired for the message of the mass market, geared for the timing of the standup comic. Facility in one of these domains is to be expected of the artist in the age of mechanical art (Pomeroy’s own bowdlerization of Walter Benjamin), but Pomeroy exercises his facility in all four—and in concert. His is an art against art. A little dialectical, a little diabolical.

    His recent performance

    Read more
  • Paul Sarkisian

    If Jim Pomeroy is grappling with the production of work in the age of mechanical art, then Paul Sarkisian is still at square one, with the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. There should be a delicious enigma in his trompe l’oeil paintings, but in view of the amusing 19th century fool-the-eye canvases of Peto and Haberle, it’s hard to cipher Sarkisian’s acrylic-on-linen sobriety. The paintings are . . . dazzlingly well painted but about as warm as a deep freeze. His limpid colors are pure Mediterranean: teal blues, warm whites, healthy flesh pinks. Why the chill? Maybe his ideas

    Read more
  • Valerie Jaudon

    Holly Solomon Gallery

    Where Sarkisian is cold, Valerie Jaudon is detached. Her paintings don’t invite you into them, nor do they attach themselves to you. The seven works in her recent show are commanding, imperious. Emanating confidence and assured of close scrutiny, they radiate self-esteem. These words aren’t used to describe the hauteur of an aristocrat, but the dignity of the didact who must remain separate in order to be instructive. The paintings can’t risk being your friends, they won’t presume to be your betters.

    Named for towns in Mississippi (Jaudon’s birthplace)—Courtland, Waveland, Yocona, Capell, Leland,

    Read more
  • Betty Parsons

    Truman and Kornblee galleries

    Betty Parsons made sculpture in Paris years before she opened her gallery. Today, it turns out, she is still putting sculptures together out of the flotsam that turns up on the beach outside her Long Island house. They are small, cockeyed, craftsy-looking pieces, painted chaotically. Part of their aim, I think, is to look amateurish, and most important, precedentless—to seem to stand outside the polemic-filled arena where so many professional artists feel obliged to work. They are nonetheless filled with vague references of all kinds, and also make one think of the work of certain younger

    Read more
  • Ellen Levy and Susan Wilmarth

    Bertha Urdang Gallery and Rosa Esman Gallery

    Though Ellen Levy and Susan Wilmarth make very different looking pictures, each does a kind of abstraction that is contemporary and terribly academic. Levy’s pictures have long strips of wood (long, bare 1- or 2-by-4s) attached to them, usually along one side. Certain parts come very close to these wood strips in color, and there is usually a mild illusion that the painted parts are actually more wood, or that the wood has just been painted with trompe l’oeil precision. The remaining area is generally a field of dull beige, gray or yellow, painted brushily, or scraped so that a different colored

    Read more
  • Abbie Zabar

    Blum Helman Gallery

    Abbie Zabar makes pictures that look like pale and precious watercolors out of bits of cut paper. They are all landscape, for the most part near freeways or quiet remote airports, but occasionally they include views of open, rolling countryside in England or France. As far as I know, Zabar has not exhibited often, and there is much about these pictures that is amateurish: their benign subject matter, perhaps primarily the association one can’t help making between them and the traditional genre landscapes of the amateur Sunday painter. Nonetheless, Zabar’s pictures are a good deal more intelligent

    Read more
  • Robert Rauschenberg

    Leo Castelli Gallery

    Robert Rauschenberg’s six “Publicons”—“public icons”—are box-sculptures hung on the wall and meant to be manipulated, not just looked at. Each piece begins as an inscrutable, blank white cabinet which unfolds, usually in several directions and very colorfully. The inside of each, where most of the work is, is a collage of patterned fabrics and utilitarian objects typical of Rauschenberg. Also typically, these items—an oar, a bicycle wheel, makeup mirrors on extendable brackets—appear in odd contexts or unusual colors, and hence become objects of irony.

    The central device with which the “Publicons”

    Read more
  • Elizabeth Murray

    Elizabeth Murray’s new paintings seem to polarize people into opposing camps, and they have a way of polarizing the viewer within himself. Their intensity rubs off on you, and you can’t help but feel very strongly about them. It may not even be a matter of liking them or not; they have a force worth reckoning with, and they demand to be taken seriously. Murray seems to have developed her art quite independently, outside of any established style; the work gets increasingly idiosyncratic and eccentric in every way, probably to sustain an extremely dynamic level of emotional expressiveness.

    Part of

    Read more
  • Edward Mayer

    O.K. Harris Gallery

    With unfinished strips of wood lath as his only construction material, Edward Myer weaves large towers and huts that combine a blunt, overall sense of solidity with visible internal structure. While countless comparisons with other artists come to mind at first glance—early Aycock, Stackhouse, self-contained Winsors and modular Ferarras—somehow Mayer’s pieces are strong enough to emerge as the work of a thorough, knowledgeable individual worth watching.

    Unexpected details save the pieces from a too-simple overall profile. Basically, each sculpture has a fairly simple shape so this

    Read more
  • Don Dudley

    Pam Adler Gallery

    Working with modular 2-by-8-inch forms of homosote blocks, Don Dudley performs variations on simple, sparse configurations. Nailing the blocks to the gallery wall, he carefully orders their arrangement in several kinds of patterns. Arranged lengthwise, the blocks line up in long panels; in two instances, they are arranged symmetrically in pyramidal formations, narrowing from top to bottom, Color is monochrome, in variations of gray tones brushed lightly onto the surface, or in pale silvery greens and plum. Perfect order combined with understated color reinforces the total lack of movement or

    Read more