Jo Baer Gagosian Gallery, 19 Place de Longemalle 1204, Geneva March 29-June 30, 2012
Not everyone knows the name of Jo Baer, the ex-pat Minimalist painter known for her sleek white linen, black-bordered paintings of the 1960s and 1970s. After all, she currently lives in Amsterdam, though she earned her New York stripes decades ago as a cutting-edge downtown artist during a bygone era when even great women artists, such as Agnes Martin and Nancy Spero, were mostly cast to the sidelines. However, almost everyone in the New York art world does know of Josh Baer, the founder of the Baer Faxt, the info-packed art newsletter.
Well, Jo Baer happens to be Josh Baer’s mother. And those family ties pay off. In association with Josh, Gagosian Geneva has organized a small, powerful show of five pristine works, spanning 14 crucial years of her career, in which the octogenerian artist’s elegant-yet-spare abstract vision roars to life.
Among the standouts is "Untitled" (1966-74), a stunning diptych, which centers on a shining expanse of cool white bordered by jet black lines, with a thinner, echoing line of turquoise that separates the white from black. “H. Orbitaster” (1973), meanwhile, is a sleeper standout in that it is hung, as directed, radiator height in the gallery. The relief casts marvelous shadows in the Spartan gallery space, offering a sparkling, chromatic medley of grays and blues. If given more than a second’s glance, Baer's outstanding works pay the viewer back with a pulsating-yet-meditative quality, one that immediately feels fresh yet authoritative.