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Many writers have reviewed the work of Marcia Marcus. Some of them are :
#JamesSchuyler #EdithSchloss #IrvingSandler #DoreAshston #JohnCanady #JillJohnston #BrianO’Dorherty #StuartPreston #JacobGrossberg #LindaNochlin #VivienRaynor #PhyllisBraff #DonaldJudd #RackstrawDownes #HollandCotter #MarthaSchwender #KaelenWilson-Goldie #SallyGrant #JerrySaltz #SephRodney #EricStuphine #JohnYau #JillianSteinhaus #RebeccaAllan #LiviaTenzer
The following four quotes from the New York Times provide a snapshot of Marcia Marcus' career. Full reviews are below.
1961 - “Marcia Marcus, whose new paintings are being shown at the Cober Gallery, 14 East Sixty-ninth Street is a fine young artist. ... Hers is a most controlled and sublimated sensibility. Which tends to reduce the solidity of natural things to an echo of their presence... Her art with its purposeful struggle, has in it potential, and that potential is rare.”
1971 - “The biggest established names represented in the exhibition are Sidney Goodman, Marcia Marcus, Alex Katz and the new dean of American figure painting Philip Pearlstein.”
1982 - “In one canvas, Marcia Marcus, a New York painter of some renown, has blended archeology with feminism."
2017 - “This year, the exhibition “Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965” at the Gray Art Gallery, featured many overlooked artists whose contributions to the mid-20th century are noteworthy. One of them is the painter Marcia Marcus.”
New York Times Art Reviews (1957-2019)
Art: Big Men on Canvas
Dore Ashton The New York Times - November 1957
The March Gallery, 95 East Tenth Street, shows paintings by Marcia Marcus. They are romantic works, often concerned with interpretations of the human figure and analogues of human conditions. But they are tentative in execution.
Art: Pure Visual Events: Paintings by Marcia Marcus Show Her Potential for Sensibility and Strength
Brian O’Doherty - The New York Times, April 17, 1961
Marcia Marcus, whose new paintings are being shown at the Cover Gallery, 14 East Sixty-ninth Street is a fine young artist. Once that is established, one is free to subject her work to the compliment of the strictest examination. Hers is a most controlled and sublimated sensibility. Which tends to reduce the solidity of natural things to an echo of their presence. Substance dissolves into outline, which describes the lost reality by circumscribing it like a map. Her figures have a gravely unquiet air, and they are usually isolated Among the sparse furniture or patterned wallpaper and intricately analyzed plants. One of her ancestors is obviously Milton Avery, but she has an honorable relationship to a tradition that goes back to Vuillard and Bonnard. Each of her pictures is a remarkably pure visual event.
Some of Miss Marcus’ paintings in the present exhibition are completely successful, but others more ambitious, have within them emphasis which tend to disrupt their coherence. In them, the larger flat areas of pastel color are approximated quite often with vibrating sheets of red or black, which produce a mild retinal uneasiness. The gentle outline which seemed to recall physical presence rather than state it, is more sharp, and the modeling of some faces more pronounced. The third dimension, once so surely moved back and forth in quiet planes of color inside a completely resolved unity, has got a little out of control. This slight but real confusion often mars the increased confidence and imagination these works show.
In “Double Portrait with Still Life” for instance, the boy's face to the left, through its realism, keeps forcing itself on the eye in a way that somehow cancels the discrete perfection of the rest of the picture. And the flowers, so brilliantly analyzed into functions of their ship and color sustain this confusion ever so slightly with occasional very realism. It might be said that Miss Marcus is aiming at a subtle dialogue between the two dimensional or between reality and its sublimation, but this, I think, would be a psychological explanation for formal deficiencies. If the last fifty years have given us anything, they have given us this strict eye for space and style and we must use it. In the same picture, for instance, there is a brilliant passage of painting in which the tablecloth, through the parallel placement of two pink tones gives an illusion of a change in plane.
On these canvasses Miss Marcus has released many new factors from her experience of the visual world. I do not think she has grasped them with the unifying perception and some of her attempts to do so display cleverness rather than the slow excellence of her best work. But if the unified image finally emerges as I believe it will, we can expect paintings, which approximate the contrary poles of sensibility and strength. Her art with its purposeful struggle, has in it that potential, and that potential is rare.
Shahn’s Exhibition on the Bomb and Gaundnek’s House Were Highlights
Brian O’Doherty - The New York Times, December 16 , 1961
Among younger artists, Marcia Marcus at the Cober Gallery in April, impressed greatly but with reservations. Her work seemed threatened by an artiness that could hurry it into some other rather shoddy shortcuts.
Forty Americans: The Whitney Selects a Good Show and Starts it on a State Tour
John Canaday - The New York Times, July 29, 1962
There is Herbert Katzman, who so immediately recalls an improbable union between Picasso and Matisse that it is difficult to think of Katzman, and there is Marcia Marcus to demonstrate for him the virtues of sensitive economy.
This Week's International Scope: Artists From Home And Abroad Vie For
Stuart Preston - New York Times, November 11, 1962
Marcia Marcus, showing cunningly contrived and ultra-refinedly handled figure paintings at the Alan Gallery, 766 Madison Avenue, is an out-and out formalist in that she designs with the circumspection of Boutet De Monvel and with some of the planned emptiness of Puvis de Chavannes. But she figures that blossom out of these parterre-like compositions are anything but formalized, being characterized in numerous bizarre and fascinating ways that resemble little else in painting. These are fastidious performances indeed.
Art: Recent Sculpture by Noguchi
John Canaday - The New York Times, November 14, 1970
Marcia Marcus (Zabriskie 699 Madison Avenue at 62d Street): Miss Marcus’s manner is based on omegas of next-to-photographic literalness ironed out into silhouettes by the elimination of shadows, plus some careful decorative adjustments of the boundaries. These adjustments of both line and color have been working just fine, although her increasing interest in fancy interpretations and metals backgrounds threatens to examine the ornamental (and sometimes humorous) effectiveness of her work at the cost of such strength as has marked it. As if to make up the balance, Miss Marcus has included in the show some experiments in the opposite direction, for instance a virtual reproduction of a photograph of Che Guevara’s Corpse.
Suffolk Museum Offering Display of Contemporary Art
John Canaday - New York Times. Sept 19, 1971
In addition to Mr. (Lennart) Anderson, Mr. Koch and Mr. Chumley, the biggest established names represented in the exhibition are Sidney Goodman, Marcia Marcus, Alex Katz and the new dean of American figure painting Philip Pearlstein. The 12 other artists include some near rivals to the four I have chosen as my favorites and three duds whom you might enjoy identifying for yourself.
Pinks and Pastels and Parabolas
Grace Gluek - New York Times, December 10, 1972
The show chosen by an all-woman jury (with the counsel of a lone male, NYCC’s director Mario Amaya) will boast the work of about 100 painters and sculptors, both WIA members and outsiders they recommended. (Among the exhibitors: Chyssa, Joan Mitchell, Pat Adams, Alice Neel, Helena Aylon, Joyce Kozloff, Marcia Marcus, Faye Lansner)
New Perspectives at Nabisco
Raynor, Vivien - New York Times, March 7, 1982
In one canvas, Marcia Marcus , a New York painter of some Renown, has blended archeology with feminism. On the left is a photographic view of a derelict Greek temple; on the right is a figure- the artist’s presumably- clad in a filmy robe and painting. A newspaper collage at her feet reports the excavation of a temple to Aphrodite in Turkey.
Fascination of Portraits of Notables
Phyllis Braff - The New York Times, June 7, 1992
Self-portraits are among the show's strengths. The highlights include a full-length, handsomely painted pseudo archaic floating or running figure by Marcia Marcus and William King’s three monotypes, each projecting a totally different mood.
When Artists Ran the Show: ‘Inventing Downtown’ at NYU Gray Gallery
Holland Cotter - The New York Times, January 12, 2017
That project ended when Mr. Grooms had to move and he started another, the Delancey Street Museum, in a deserted boxing gym on the Lower East Side. There he realized some of his own most ambitious theater pieces, and also presented a solo by the painter Marcia Marcus, now obscure, who has a way- ahead- of -it’s -time self-portrait at the Gray.
Martha Schwendener - The New York Times, November 14, 2017
Art history is in constant flux, as you can see by the rise of artists who were left out of earlier narratives. This year, the exhibition “Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965” at the Gray Art Gallery, featured many overlooked artists whose contributions to the mid-20th century are noteworthy. One of them is the painter Marcia Marcus, whose work is currently on view in “Role Play: Paintings 1958-1973” at Eric Firestone Gallery.
In the 1950’s, Ms. Marcus studied with Edwin Dickinson at the art students League and alongside the painter Alex Katz at Cooper Union. (Now 89, she is no longer a practicing artist.) Ms. Marcus painted the human form in flat color with a muted affect. Sparse in detail and expression, the paintings feel perfect for an era in which Pop Art and Minimalism reigned. But they also recall the stiff official poses of everything from Egyptian friezes and Minoan frescoes early Renaissance portraiture. Many of the subjects were art world figures:the critic Jill Johnston; the curator and art historian Henri Zerner; The artists Bob Thompson, Lucas Samaras, Red Grooms, Emily Mason and Hazel Belvo. But Ms. Marcus also painted her friends and neighbors from the Lower East Side and Provincetown, Mass.
Textile patterns and gold leaf are incorporated into the compositions, and oval and diamond-shaped canvases occasionally frame her figures. You can detect similarities not only with the portraiture of Mr. Katz, but also that of Barkley L. Hendricks, Sylvia Sleigh and particularly Alice Need in one respect; Like Ms. Neel, Ms Marcus painted a range of ethnicities, reminding us that the art world, in it’s best moments, was not ruled by some sexist white supremacy that has often plagued art history.
New York Galleries: What to See Right Now. Mimi Gross and Marcia Marcus
Jillian Steinhauer - The New York Times, July 9, 2019
Titled “Double Portrait,” this electrifying exhibition unites Mimi Gross and Marcia Marcus, who began making figurative paintings in the 1950’s. Born 12 years apart, Ms Marcus and Ms. Gross crossed paths in downtown New York, as well as in sojourns to Italy and Provincetown. Both were putting paint to canvas at a time when Minimalism and Conceptualism reigned supreme, and both were interested in representations of their gender.
For Ms. Marcus, this interest manifests itself in cryptic, almost surreal self-portraits, done with a muted palette, in which the artist dresses up and poses with classical ruins, as if she were a goddess or guardian. Ms. Gross sometimes reinterprets famous art historical works, as in two massive takes on Delacroix’s “women of Algiers”” (1834) “Dark Air” her roughly 9x9 foot construction that reimagines it with fashion, friends and riots patterns, is a showstopper and the first piece you see upon entering the gallery.
Ms. Gross and Ms. Marcus frequently portrayed friends, family and acquaintances, including each other. They cultivated an intimacy that pushes against the cold monumentality of the canon. Today, when figurative painting has become a powerful province for artists who are white, straight and male, this work feels as current as anything you would see in Chelsea. That is what makes it a revelation.