New York

Alexander Liberman

Andre Emmerich

From the unschooled to the over-schooled, from the oversexed to the bloodless. There is really not much to say about work like Alexander Liberman’s, since it has been emptied so relentlessly of all meaning. Eschewing all reference but the depiction of space, the work is supposed to stand on its formal qualities alone, but even these are revealed as easy gestures and easier shapes. There is no transcendent beauty here, no significant form (though we are meant to believe there is)—only the banal doodlings of a decorator sadly lacking in wit.

The paintings here were of bright, unmixed acrylic paint applied in broad sweeps. In most of them a black shape, something like an abstracted door frame, serves as a foil for generally sloping bands of color arranged across the surface of the canvas. Each stroke looks complete, considered, although there is a certain allowance for mess and spatter and drip, the obligatory signs of creative intuition expressing itself.

The sculptures are equally formulaic, equally the result of exercise for its own sake. Volumetric studies faintly echoing the work of Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner, they describe a space through the deployment of painted steel flats. The larger pieces, with many interlocking planes within the confines of a fairly simple overall shape, are quite complicated, but never complex. The show, and one’s attention, drooped.

Thomas Lawson