• “American Images”

    International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)

    The first thing you notice about the show “American Images” is that the photographers are listed in alphabetical order. In a sense, you never get beyond dealing with the show on that level. There are 20 photographers. On a commission from A.T.&T. administered by N.E.A., each photographer contributed 15 photographs reproduced in three portfolios. Two of these are to be deposited with museums while one is retained by A.T.&T., presumably as a hedge against inflation. (Now let’s see: that’s 15 photographers taking . . . no, no, no: 20 photographers taking 15 photographs each. That’s 300 photographs

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  • Paul Thek

    Brooks Jackson Gallery lolas

    Paul Thek has always been a culturally responsive artist. His The Tomb—Death of a Hippie, 1967, was a sculptural roman à clef which summed up and buried the era which, for all its countercultural frisson, was more accurately characterized by Altamont than Woodstock. Thek’s narrative-realist stance—with its autobiographical content, architectural context, and ritual implications—also proved a significant compass reading for ’70s art. Following Death of a Hippie (the “Hippie” was, incidentally, a wax cast of Thek), the artist exiled himself to Europe where he began making transient assemblage

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  • Robert Mangold

    John Weber Gallery

    Robert Mangold’s Painting for Three Walls is just that: a work of three two-panel paintings painted in the open cube of a studio and installed in the similar cube of a gallery. The center canvas is blue-gray, the one to the left is orange-yellow, and the one to the right is green-brown. As is common with Mangold, each of the supports is not quite a rectangle, (but on paper that sounds more distorted than they actually look). Within each of these “distorted rectangles” is drawn a “corrected rectangle,” that is, a rectangle that looks true. In the yellow and gray canvases the corrected rectangle

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  • David Diao

    Rosa Esman Gallery

    It is said that there is modernist painting that does not argue—or rather, whose argument is purely visual. To reflect upon such painting one must be before it; it relies on ownership. And then there is modernist painting whose argument can be translated without undue distortion and thus possessed in a way that is not so blatantly consumerist.

    I’m not sure how currently useful the distinction is; however, it sticks with me. When I first saw the work of David Diao, I thought of it in terms of the first category; I now see it more in terms of the second.

    I do not mean that there is any painted word

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  • Helen Levitt

    Sidney Janis Gallery

    When you visit Helen Levitt at the Greenwich Village apartment where she has lived for many years, she tells you that she has nothing to say. Among the things she doesn’t have to say is her age, which is impossible to guess. A petite, handsome woman with clear features, few wrinkles and quick, nervous eyes, she probably hasn’t changed much since she was a girl hanging around with Walker Evans in the late 1930s. She claims that she and Evans seldom spoke about photography. Nobody did in those days. It wasn’t a subject of any urgency then. The one thing Helen will tell you is that for 20 years

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  • “Yvon Lambert Presents 'Artemisia'”

    Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

    Judith chose her moment well: his was the right head and he was the right tyrant. Treacherous enough to deceive Holophernes, Judith was also cunning enough to elude the wrath of her critics: her premeditated, cold-blooded beheading of the man who loved her has, for centuries, been considered an exceptional deed. Hailed as the savior of her tribe, a heroine still, Judith (opportunist that she was) is remembered only for the courage and composure that she displayed in an hour of desperation. Many a city, therefore, has looked to her in times of need, and numerous artists have paid her tribute by

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  • Kathy Acker

    The Kitchen

    Being a good storyteller in large part means having a good story to tell; Kathy Acker’s Great Expectations is a good story, an inventive series of burlesque vignettes, a venture through the seamy sides of the lives of a decadent cast of modern characters.

    Acker’s writing is rich in visual and visceral texture; as she reads from her elevated podium, she shifts theatrical personae to take us from France to the bowels of Egypt to 73rd Street in New York where a husband and a wife have a quarrel that ends with the shooting of an unidentified four-year-old girl in a blue bonnet. The characters are a

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  • Irene Krugman

    Bertha Urdang Gallery

    In my ceaseless struggles with arithmetic, I remember having tremendous difficulty assessing the value of proportions. However arranged, numbers to me were flat, singular descriptions of who was older, who was bigger, and what was more. Though my senses knew to opt for 1/2 of a candy bar over 1/4, written on a piece of paper, 1/4, having the largest integer as its denominator, seemed to be the larger measure. I was clearly not a pro at this relational game.

    Graduated images on a plane will be read by our eyes as receding because we have been subliminally taught to translate the illusion into the

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  • Rachel Bas-Cohain

    A.I.R. Gallery

    Rachel Bas-Cohain is also involved with the mechanics of sight and perception. Her interests center around the limitations of perception and how they affect our experience of art.

    The farthest view upon which we can still focus is usually our optical aspiration, so to speak, but bas-Cohain points out that it should not necessarily be our desired resting place. The rear 50 feet of the gallery space are separated by two floor-to-ceiling pieces of cheesecloth which are connected by 20 differently angled cloth cylinders. The quotations printed on the back wall of the gallery, all of which have

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  • Glenda Hydler

    The Clocktower

    Since November of 1972, Glenda Hydler has been creating an ongoing series of books that have been very much related to—and very much a part of—the rhythm of her emotional and experiential life. Her alternating pages of text and photographs bound in individual looseleaf notebooks, (which now number about 80) have focused primarily on the relationships between the artist and others in both personal and more social contexts, The autobiographical texts, which are generally typed in fragmented segments without punctuation, maintain stream-of-consciousness intensity and explore the internal states of

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  • Kim MacConnel

    Holly Solomon Gallery

    Kim MacConnel is one of the best and most interesting painters among the young decorative and color painters. He is also the one who is discussed often and favorably in relation to Matisse. He paints bold and big on fabric prints, taking his imagery from nature and nostalgia, the latter including vintage American mass-cultural icons from the ’40s through the ’60s. He paints in acrylics and metals; stitches vertical strips of painted fabrics together to generate individual works; leaves the bottoms uneven and unhemmed; and, finally, hangs these paintings unframed. Except for the common interest

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  • Pat Steir

    Droll/Kolbert Gallery

    The title of Pat Steir’s new show is “Rembrandt’s Hairline” which clues us into the ironic side of these meditative and critical paintings about painting, and accounts, in no small way, for their fascination. In a series of four large diptychs (70 by 144 inches), Steir directs us to the 20th-century realm of the gestural, where abstract markings carry the authority of words and bear the same basic messages about art and life traditionally reserved for representational forms, like those of Rembrandt’s. The diptychs all have the same format, two equal-size canvases (70 inches square), each with

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  • Harry Bowers

    Hansen Fuller Goldeen

    Harry Bowers’ recent color photographs are composite fabrications, layers of apparel, cut-out constructions, paper mannequins, and black-and-white portraits (with spray paint) presented in a 40 inch by 50 inch format. In contrast to his earlier works—sequential, life-sized articles of clothing arranged in an autobiographical/anthropomorphic format—these photographs are diverse in subject matter and more varied in appearance.

    Bowers has always reflected a painterly disposition, displaying lush, sensual hues. In the current works he layers materials, creating a trompe l’oeil effect in which clothing

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  • Lydia Hunn

    Nexus Projects Gallery

    Could there be such a thing as “New Image Sculpture”? Richard Marshall’s catalogue for the 1979 Whitney show, to rephrase it somewhat, advertised Imagist painting as representation under new management: realism pensioned off; abstraction hired as consultant. True to inflated times and a pinched economy, the new image has been cut back, pruned of all but the most essential identifying characteristics, yet it remains “emotive,” psychological and highly suggestive if sometimes mysterious. Consider, in this light, the “Flashers” of Rosemarie Castoro, the cradles and ladders of Harmony Hammond, the

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