Art galleries present summer fare for all tastes

END-of-season or summer exhibitions in New York tend to be more general or theme-oriented than those put on during the rest of the year. Some galleries present overviews of their various artists' work. Others take the occasion to test new talent. And still others attempt to stir interest by mounting shows based on unusual ideas or gimmicks. This summer has been no exception so far -- although a number of exhibitions do stand out in interest, if not necessarily in significance.

Further Exposure, an exhibition of work by 15 artists from six countries on view at the CDS Gallery, 13 East 75th Street, is such an exception. Both figurative and abstract paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by outstanding artists are included.

Many of these painters and sculptors made their New York debuts in this gallery over the past several years, and a few -- Jacobo Borges and Peter Booth, in particular -- have international reputations.

Although I was not impressed by Booth's contribution -- it resembles an art student's loosening up exercise more than a work of art -- I was taken by Borges's pieces. ``Mujer Con Piano,'' a large, flamboyant painting of a figure at a piano, is a marvelous picture that balances the impulsiveness of a sketch with the seriousness of a more final, considered statement. And it does so with a style and wit that makes one wish to see more of this Venezuelan painter's work.

Also outstanding are: Ernesto Barreda's super-realistic and rather magical landscapes; Jim Peters's ``The Opening,'' which includes a small three-dimensional figure protruding from the canvas; Stephen De Staebler's fired clay sculpture ``Right Sided Woman Sitting''; Adja Yunker's delicate ``V^entre de Biche''; and Graham Campbell's oil ``The Circle.''

This very interesting exhibition at one of New York's best Upper East Side galleries will run through July 25.

Italian Wave: Icons of Post-Modernism, at the Holly Solomon Gallery, 724 Fifth Avenue, is another group show of very special interest. It brings together the work of 10 younger Italian artists, some of whom share a few of the characteristics of their better-known contemporaries Chia and Clemente -- but with greater conscious elegance and more pronounced dependence on stylization. Many of these paintings exhibit a linear delicacy that is quite engaging, as well as a sense of humor that, at times, comes close to caricature.

Bruno Benuzzi, Enrico Barbera, Felice Levini, and Giorgio Pagano are most effective, although Luigi Mainolfi's fantastic and outrageous sculpture of a centaur steals the show. (Through July 25.)

Equally fanciful, if a bit more pictorially aggressive, is Eccentric Drawings at the Allan Frumkin Gallery, 50 West 57th Street. It consists of works on paper by 10 gallery and 10 invited artists.

As is almost always the case in this establishment, these run the gamut from the most precisely realistic to the most wildly idiosyncratic.

Most surprising is a charcoal abstraction by William Beckman, one of America's premier realists, that may not tell us a great deal about his potential as a modernist but offers us a hint of the range of his interests. James McGarrell scores heavily with a composite consisting of 12 small panels in vivid colors, and Chuck Dugan presents us with a first-rate example of his coloristic specialty. Luiz Cruz Azaceta's two huge drawings also stand out -- as does the contribution of Frederic Amat. (Through July 31.)

Across the street at 41 West 57th, the Schmidt-Bingham Gallery celebrates summer with an exhibition of landscapes. America: New Vistas continues this new gallery's commitment to representational art with works by several of its regulars, including Emily Brown, Charles Moser, Joyce Treiman, Michael Filmus, Brooks Anderson, and John Meyer. This is definitely a gallery to watch, for it represents, in addition to a few excellent, older and more established artists, a number of the best younger realists around. (Through July 30.)

The Galerie St. Etienne, at 24 West 57th Street, can always be counted on for a worthwhile summer exhibition. This year it's a selection of 55 works by Austria's great trio of 20th-century masters, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka. Although most of the pieces on view are works on paper, including a few prints, the gallery features a number of oils -- mostly smallish studies -- to round off the display. Needless to say, Schiele comes off best, even though very few of his major drawings are on view -- which, more than anything, should tell us something about the quality of his art. (Through Sept. 13.)

As if to underscore Schiele's genius, the Serge Sabarsky Gallery, 987 Madison Avenue, is currently holding an exhibition of that artist's drawings and watercolors. As has been true of this gallery's earlier presentations of Schiele's work, this show is small, compact, and first rate. Several of the drawings may seem to make a fairly regular appearance on Mr. Sabarsky's walls, but no matter. Great draftsmanship is never tiring. (Through July 31.)

Theodore Wolff is art critic for The Christian Science Monitor

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