The New York Sun

Jason McCoy

Graves keeps company on 57th Street with another welcome, overdue retrospective for an American sculptor, the Sidney Geist survey at Jason McCoy. Of an older generation than Graves, Mr. Geist is still with us though sadly the 91-year-old artist suffered a stroke on the eve of his show.

Mr.Geist is as renowned a scholar as an artist. He is a leading authority on Brancusi and the author of a study of Cezanne that makes controversial claims about hidden unconscious imagery in his paintings- McCoy has gathered works dating back to the 1930s and up to the 1990s.

In the first decades there was a slow, dutiful apprenticeship to Brancusi and other classic modernists (many of his works from the 1950s look like Tanguy personages come to three-dimensional life) and a quiet kinship to Noguchi. Later the work blossoms into the wilder, more personal totems that are his claim to sculptural originality.

For Mr.Geist, like Graves, color is the great liberator. His carving style is understatedly voluptuous, but color really ups the ante in a work like "Femme Fleur" (1989-92), a sexy, surrealist sculptural pun. The tapering, striped totems of his most recent period are classy and serene.