1959-07 Directors' Choice

Republished by Jean Jarvaise on Mar 24, 2017 at 09:30 PM in Article Archives 1940s to 1970s in Article Archives 1940s to 1970s

For this cross-country feature we requested our correspondents to ask museum directors to select a favorite contemporary painting or sculpture and give some comments on their choice.

Los Angeles Times, July 1959



For his fresh approach to the painters whom we may be too close to see, we selected Frederick Black, new director of the Long Beach Museum, in this rapidly expanding shore city which houses the U.S. Navy by sea, and looks ahead with growth plans for a multi-million dollar construction program. Black brings to the position his previous experience as director of New Mexico's State Art Museum and the Tucson, Ariz., Art Center, and also the background of an active creative painter, recognized by Art in America's 1958 New Talent issue and the Dallas' 10-Year Survey, as well as by exhibition in the Whitney Annual and the University of Illinois Biennial.

"Favorites are the luxury of collectors," Black says, "but one can enjoy periods of relatively narrow focus, perhaps selecting three."

Of Magical Space Forms by Lorser Feitelson, he says: " His canvases are large, simple, pure and right. Totally nonobjective, they are studies in fine manipulations of shape and the elegant adjustment of color. All is order, extensively intellectualized. Yet more, there is an affective element. The phrase, 'felt painting,' when associated with hard-edge work, always seems strained; however, applied to Feitelson's canvas, it truly makes sense."

Of Frederick Wight's figures : "There is something agitated, raw and powerful in his painting. His brush stroke is dry and restless. His palette is extensive, on occasion even iridescent; his figures immersed in an effulgence of natural light from the sea or fields, or sometimes in a kind of ambience of imagined light. The nude figures possess an elemental quality. Roughened, unglossed works, spontaneously executed, they convey powerful moods of subliminal order. They insist upon a mute reality of their own, yet have about them the strange tension of apparitions."

The third choice is one of the Hudson River series produced by James Jarvaise after the 19thcentury American school. Black comments : "James Jarvaise is the youngest of these painters. His work is airy, with spacious design and the niceties of an action painter's surface. Broad bands suggest the horizontal planes or the undulations of rolling landscape. One might trace its provenance to the early work of Clyfford Still, whose major contributions m technique, - James larvaise:,fiudson River Series No. 58, oil, 1959. Collection of Marian Borun. adopted by an entire generation of painters, have entered the modern movement piecemeal to become the idiom of an era." Black goes on to say that Feitelson's work has recently been added to the Museum of Modern Art collections, Wight will show in New York at the end of this year, and J arvaise won a place in a recent Carnegie International. - HELEN W URDEMANN