new-york

Dorothea Rockburne, “C” Study for Scalar, 1970, chipboard, crude oil, paper, nails, 30 x 20 x 1".

Dorothea Rockburne

Craig F. Starr Gallery

Dorothea Rockburne, “C” Study for Scalar, 1970, chipboard, crude oil, paper, nails, 30 x 20 x 1".

This show of twenty-four works—ranging in size from the parietal Tropical Tan, 1966–67, to the diminutive group of drawings called Silence, 1972—reminded us of Dorothea Rockburne’s vital achievement. Moreover, the exhibition demonstrated that the once-radical pictorial solutions of post-Minimalism, with the passage of more than four decades, now strike affective notes unusual to the art’s original intentions (to the extent they can be determined).

This new, emotional key is registered, for example, in six studies for Scalar, the large 1971 work in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (which was not on view here). Saturated with oil—once available at thirty-nine cents a bottle (as I recall) from the bins of the old Canal Street “close-out” stores situated along the southern rim of a pre-gentrified SoHo—and affixed to chipboard grounds by penny nails, these

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