New York

Adolf Gottlieb

André Emmerich Gallery

Two paintings in the Adolf Gottlieb exhibition made the whole thing worthwhile. The other works were accomplished but uninteresting pictographs with cartoony pointing fingers, squishy hands, fishy phallic eyes, and portentous, ambiguous symbols. They probably looked better when they were first exhibited, when they might have seemed at least startlingly grotesque. Gottlieb uses the grid not as a formal device, but as a weird pictorial row of shelves to place images on. The grid as a formal structure did not have the kind of power then that artists now claim for it. Gottlieb thankfully fills the grid in with something rather than leaving it empty, but this is small consolation.

The grid is absent in the two best paintings, Black Ground and Night Flight. The obviousness of the other paintings takes a certain subverted direction here—the symbology grows from many layers of decision making during

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