David Zwirner's 'Primary Atmospheres' Is California Sweet

The beautiful haze of  West Coast minimalism makes Frank Gehry talk naughty

"Primary Atmospheres" contains gems too numerous to mention. There's Peter Alexander, whose experiments with blocks of polyester resin cast pink transparencies ethereal enough for a meathead like Frank Gehry to compare them (favorably) to "pussy"; the vacuum-coated glass boxes of Larry Bell, which change color and opacity with every angle; and the back-painted wall-reliefs of Craig Kauffman, like Hall's lozenges oozing interior radiance.

Box of tricks: An untitled 1969 piece by Larry Bell
Courtesy David Zwirner, New York
Box of tricks: An untitled 1969 piece by Larry Bell


'Primary Atmospheres: Works From California 1960–1970'
David Zwirner
525 West 19th Street

And then there's John McCracken. The absolute nutter of the worldwide minimalist movement, this devotee of UFOs and astral projections has spent a lifetime making 2001: A Space Odyssey monoliths that embody color with the transcendence of reliquary blood. Fiberglass planks he polishes into alchemical totems, they materialize what Turrell, in a moment of verbal genius, referred to as the "self-reflexive act of looking at your looking." Which just goes to show: Sometimes less is not a bore, it's just plain magic.

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