• Sandy Skoglund

    Leo Castelli

    With Maybe Babies, her latest photograph and installation, Sandy Skoglund moves another rung up the evolutionary ladder from her earlier Revenge of the Goldfish and Radioactive Cats, both 1981. In each of the three Skoglund has presented both a large Cibachrome photograph and the constructed environment on which it is based; all have featured drab domestic settings (a bedroom in . . . Goldfish, a kitchen in . . . Cats, an outside corner of a house in . . . Babies) teeming with remarkably detailed, luridly colored epoxy casts of the title creatures. Skoglund’s settings are like the mad hallucinations

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  • Gérard Garouste

    Leo Castelli Gallery and Sperone Westwater Gallery

    Gérard Garouste is a stylish, clever gambler. He knows the rules of current international outre-modernisme, and though he has little strategy he bluffs with rhetorical fluency. Garouste, who was initially involved with performance and set design, has only been making paintings for the last three or four years. He expends considerable energy on the task of faking technique, and his compensatory methods are essentially theatrical. Often, for instance, he will recoup an otherwise turgid passage by inserting or superimposing a bit of business—a flourish, a gesture, or an aside. As might be guessed,

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  • John Albers

    Robert Freidus Gallery

    John Albers’ first solo show established him as an artist to follow on the new figurative front. A powerful vision of the human figure is offered in these painted constructions; the works, including both single and group, freestanding and relief sculptures, directly address the constructively expressive sensibility of ’80s art.

    Albers’ focus is the male nude. Working with fragments of wood he builds heads and torsos piece by piece, creating fractured structures which make expressive use of planar displacements, volumetric distensions, and simultaneous views. The approach is at once analytical

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  • William Schwedler

    Tibor De Nagy Gallery

    William Schwedler has a special place in recent American art. His death last year, at the age of 40, left an impressive pictorial legacy, surveyed in this memorial retrospective of paintings and works on paper. The display included work ranging from the early ’70s through the early ’80s—the period when the Chicago-born artist, then based in New York, found his own distinctive course. Deep concerns with image and surface are at the source of his vision’s persuasiveness.

    Educated at the Art Institute of Chicago, Schwedler revealed traces of his hometown’s peculiar brand of funky representation in

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  • Jannis Kounellis

    Sonnabend Gallery

    What’s most elegant and, because a delayed perception, moving about this Jannis Kounellis installation is the evocation of the entrapped body, which is accomplished without recourse to any figural imagery. Presented on steel shelves, parts of peeling furniture (of tables, chairs, possibly a bed)—by definition congruent with the body, at its service—and of weatherbeaten doors, shutters, and locks compose an elegy of entombment. Hints of interment from Kounellis are not novel. And given his mystical interests (demonstrated by the diverse gas-fueled smoking purgatories, and the golden wall and

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  • Mary Frank

    Zabriskie Gallery

    Mary Frank’s bent is romantic, her sculptures a poeticized recapitulation of an Edenic period when man and woman enjoyed a unity with nature that amounted to a lack of individuation. Human arms are sometimes webbed, stopped in the middle of the evolutionary trajectory. Figures and flora are threads of a single fabric. Previously, when Frank laid her figures prone in a bed of sand, the mutuality with nature was presented as a closed-off option, fossilized, shedding the hushed glamour of any find seeming to be the repository of eons. Now it may be that this vision of mythic felicity is offered as

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  • Richard Mock

    Brooke Alexander Gallery

    Richard Mock revises Picasso’s experiments in surrealism from the ’30s and ’40s. It’s possible to see him as casting himself in the role of conciliator between Picasso’s outrageous aggression and Carl Jung’s outrageous suggestion that Picasso, on the evidence of the 1932 Zurich exhibition, was a schizophrenic; in other words, Mock tries to reconcile the world-disturbing, dangerously alienating sexual/creative drive of the artist with the continuance of the community/audience, needful of harmony and defensive of its own pathology.

    The Demoiselles–like African masks of Mock’s heads may be his first

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  • “New Abstraction”

    Sidney Janis Gallery

    The inference of novelty in the title of this show was misplaced. The 16 paintings, two by each of eight artists, are recent and they are abstract, but there was nothing new here, nor could there be. There were two anomalies—Jerry Zeniuk, with his multicolored, camouflagelike pictures, and Howard Smith, with thinly washed, atmospheric canvases. These aside, the painters were represented by monochrome works of varying scale (mostly large), which seem to address the question of how elementary the painted surface can be made before it forfeits significance.

    Within the subgenre of allover painters

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  • Larry Poons

    Andre Emmerich Gallery

    I’m frankly flabbergasted by these paintings; I’m not sure that’s the surprise one’s supposed to have at the shock of the new, but it’s certainly more than the wonder one sometimes has at the prideful ways of artists. The pictures’ material assertiveness, pushing what used to be called frankness of surface to a physical crescendo, is either a brilliant blunder or the realization of a bizarre beauty. Sumptuousness is achieved with the aid of a prosthetic device: small pieces of polyurethane foam infiltrate the paint, giving it lift, somewhat as falsies add to a bosom. I don’t mean anything mocking

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  • Stanley Boxer

    Andre Emmerich Gallery

    Stanley Boxer is another painter struggling, like Poons, to make good the myth of the magical surface—to combine fresh ways of making it mysterious with old methods of giving it “substance.” As with Poons, there is extraordinary self-consciousness about the surface—a refusal to take it for granted, even an uncertainty about the sensibility that could best inform it. And as with Poons, we see a sensibility trying to form itself through a fresh sense of possible surface, without any clear sense of or special desire for the “perfect surface.” This ideal, which once seemed numinously implicit in

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  • Friedel Dzubas

    Knoedler Gallery

    Friedel Dzubas, a so-called “Abstract Impressionist,” is an old master, not a new one. He gives us a surface of dense or dissipating color, a surface in which color is analytically in separate areas and is examined for its own beautiful sake, or in which it synthesizes, through nuance, with other color with which it has affinity. There is an evasive, touch-and-go look here which belies the monumentality of such canvases as Argonaut and A Day Passing, both 1982—a sense of sovereign yet delicate fluidity, never in crisis yet peculiarly unpredictable and indeterminate. There are no tricks of surface

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  • Nancy Dwyer

    Semaphore Gallery

    These recent paintings extend Nancy Dwyer’s interest in anonymous urban scenarios. In each, single or grouped figures culled from photographs and other media sources are rendered with an illustrator’s rapid contour line and placed on chromatic fields. However, their specific interest—the one distinguishing them from Dwyer’s previous works—lies in the introduction of a new convention, a quotation of ’60s-Minimalist shaped canvases and color-field formal divisions. Thus each painting involves a triple play of conventions: one, the use of common, though never explicitly codified, images; another,

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  • “Borrowed Time”

    Baskerville And Watson

    Seduced by the title’s intimations of impending gloom, one enters the gallery to find a group show gathering ten highly disparate individuals around a common intellectual hypothesis. A letdown, in fact, for “Borrowed Time” is meant to refer to the current situation of postindustrial society, characterized by the waning of belief in the ideology of progress and by the proliferation of electronic technology. The show is founded (according to the wall label) on a kind of Daniel Bel lian thesis of the shift from an industrial society to an informational one, from production to reproduction, and from

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  • Michael Heizer

    IBM Building

    On December 16 the International Business Machines Corporation unveiled a new and important sculpture by Michael Heizer. IBM’s decision to commission this work is itself a significant gesture; not only is the award to a relatively young American artist different from typical offerings to, say, Henry Moore or Alexander Calder, but Heizer’s public sculpture has always sparked controversy (witness the 1976 Seattle commission, Adjacent, Against, Upon). Levitated Mass is sited in a small outdoor plaza at Madison Avenue and 56th Street, near one entrance to the corporation’s new office building (this

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  • “Asphalt Night”

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

    The notion of independently produced American films remains just that, a notion. With few exceptions there is no financial support for cinema produced outside the Hollywood construct. And when independent films finally do get made (through the existing and limited grant system) they remain unseen in many cases, thanks to the lack of any distributive network besides those that service conventional commercial product. In Germany, however, film funding is somewhat more generous, encouraging a kind of quirky gathering of independent productions. Supported by ZDF (Second German Television Network),

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