Report from the Front

Art criticism, sometimes with context, occasional politics. Published in hard copy 5-7 times a year. New shows: "events;" hard-copy rates & how to support the online edition: "works."

RUN, DO NOT WALK TO “GOLDEN KINGDOMS” AT THE MET

May 24, 2018

MASK. Turquoise, wood, mother-of-pearl, shell (Spondylus princeps, Spondylus calcifer). Probably Mixtec (Ñudzavui), A.D. 1200–1521. Mexico MiBACT Museo delle Civiltà - Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico. “L. Pigorini” Image © Museo delle Civiltà - Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico L. Pigorini, su concessione del MiBACT, Photo Archive scans (Mario Mineo).
I’m afraid I’m just not like other people. For most, the mention of “gold” in an exhibition’s title sends them en masse to see it. But for me, the medium is not the message, so I put off until the last minute seeing “Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. BIG mistake – as it only runs until May 28 now, and it’s terrific! So by all means, run do not walk to see it. (more…)

TWO ART FAIRS: THE ARMORY SHOW & TEFAF NEW YORK

May 22, 2018

Paul Kasmin booth at "Tefaf New York Spring 2018". Photo by Mark Niedermann
Art fairs frustrate me, because I primarily want to send readers to see the art I'm writing about (as Clement Greenberg said, "All a critic can really do is point," or words to that effect). An art fair is over long before my report goes online. Still as "news," the art fairs are not without merit, so here are belated reports on two this season. One is “The Armory Show,” held as usual on Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River from March 8 to 11. The other is "Tefaf New York Spring 2018," which was held for only the second time at the Park Avenue Armory this year from May 2 to 6. (more…)

RECOMMENDED: EARLY BOXER, RECENT LITTLE

May 11, 2018

Tags: Stanley Boxer, James Little

James Little, "Near There," 2017. Raw pigment on canvas, 33.5 x 41.50 inches. Courtesy of the artist and the June Kelly Gallery, New York
Two current shows of abstract painting that I can most heartily recommend are “Stanley Boxer: Gradations” at Berry Campbell in Chelsea (through May 19) and “James Little: Slants and White Paintings” at June Kelly in SoHo (through May 15). Little’s show is of new work, while Boxer’s is from earlier in his career, but both are full of surprises. (more…)

“COLORS” AT FREEDMAN ART

May 2, 2018

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), "Untitled," 1959. Oil and collage on paper, 14 x 11 inches. Signed lower center, green crayon: 3/59 \ Frankenthaler (Inv# FA849). Courtesy Freedman Art
A singularly inventive group show at Freedman Art is “Colors” (extended through August 17). The idea for it was born when the gallery’s director, Ann Freedman, visited the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA last year, to see its exhibition devoted to Sam Kootz, the pioneering art dealer. While Freedman was there, her attention was drawn to a poem entitled “Colors” by a12-year-old schoolgirl named Zoe Kusyk that had been inspired by a 1977 Larry Poons painting at the Fralin. (more…)

MAX HOLLEIN & THOMAS COLE AT THE MET: COMMENT & REALITY

April 25, 2018

Tags: Thomas Cole, Turner, Constable

Thomas Cole (American [born England], Lancashire 1801–1848 Catskill, New York). The Course of the Empire: The Consummation of Empire, 1835–36. Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 76 in. (130.2 x 193 cm). New-York Historical Society, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts (1858.3). Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions.
There’s no doubt that the New York Times devotes generous attention to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But this can lead to some very bum steers. Not only was I dismayed by the paper’s recent article on Max Hollein, the museum’s new director, but its review of the museum’s highly sophisticated and thoroughly delightful exhibition of “Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings” actually discouraged me from attending it until far too late in its run. Hence I can only belatedly encourage my readers to beat feet to this show before it closes on May 13 (or see it at the National Gallery in London, where it will appear from June 11 to October 7). (more…)

EARLY & LATE AVERY AT YARES ART

April 19, 2018

Tags: Milton Avery

Milton Avery (1885-1965), "Untitled (Wild Purple Mountain) / Untitled (Valley Floor), c. 1930s. Double-sided gouache on black paper, 18 x 24 inches (45.7 x 61cm). (Inv# 3104). Courtesy Yares Art.
For I don’t know how long, I have been aware of the big, spacious landscapes and seascapes of the later 1950s and early 1960s by Milton Avery (1885-1965), but it seems like forever. And I have to confess it has taken me a very long time to warm up to them. However, I have exceedingly warm feelings toward the current show at Yares Art, which is entitled "Milton Avery: Early Works on Paper + Late Paintings" (extended through May 5). (more…)

“ZURBURÁN’S JACOB AND HIS TWELVE SONS” AT THE FRICK COLLECTION

April 14, 2018

Tags: Zurburán

Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, 1598–1664), "Judah," ca. 1640–45. Oil on canvas , 79 1/4 x 40 3/4 inches (201.3 x 103.5 cm). © The Auckland Project/Zurbarán Trust. Photo credit: Robert LaPrelle.
As my first entry in the museum category in some time, I can recommend “Zurburán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons” at The Frick Collection (through April 22). This stately group of thirteen paintings, each measuring nearly 7 feet high and about 3½ feet wide, graces the East Gallery of the Frick, on the ground floor, and offers a telling contribution to the lore surrounding Francisco de Zurburán (1568-1664). (more…)

DIONYSIAN DZUBAS AT LORETTA HOWARD

April 11, 2018

Tags: Friedel Dzubas

FRIEDEL DZUBAS, "Northdrift", 1959. Oil on canvas, 19 x 38 inches. 'Friedel Dzubas' (lower left); signed, titled and inscribed 'DZUBAS /"NORTHDRIFT." Courtesy of Loretta Howard Gallery.
The current show at Loretta Howard is “Friedel Dzubas: Gestural Abstraction” (through April 21). It reminds me of an important article written by Clement Greenberg in 1947. Called “The Present Prospects of American Painting and Sculpture,” this article appeared in the British magazine Horizon. (more…)

“UNLOCKING THE GRID” AT BOOKSTEIN PROJECTS

April 5, 2018

Tags: Gottlieb, Joaquín Torres García

Adolph Gottlieb, Nostalgia for Atlantis, 1944. Oil and tempera on canvas, 20 x 25 inches. Image courtesy of Bookstein Projects, New York.
Lori Bookstein started out in the gallery business in 1997, with an Upper East Side space on 78th Street, which she opened with the still-memorable show of “Pat Lipsky’s Black Paintings.” Since then, the gallery has moved to West 57th Street and then again to Chelsea. There it shut up shop in the fall of 2016. But it seems you can’t keep a good woman down, so now Bookstein has returned to her roots, and opened up Bookstein Projects at 60 East 66th Street. At present her exhibition is a little jewel of a group show entitled “Unlocking the Grid” (through April 14). (more…)

THREE TALL WOMEN (ESPECIALLY FRANCINE TINT)

March 17, 2018

Tags: Louise P. Sloane, Arleen Joseph, Francine Tint

Francine Tint, Wonky, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 46 x 210 inches.
As March is National Women’s History Month, I cite the fine examples of 1) Louise P. Sloane, whose medium-sized & colorful, rigidly geometric abstract paintings grace the Two E Lounge in the stately Pierre Hotel (through May 31); 2) Arleen Joseph, whose modestly-scaled & colorful, gestural abstract paintings are ensconced in the busy Weill-Cornell Medical Associates clinic on West 72nd Street (through April 24), and 3) most of all, Francine Tint, who has gambled on Cavalier, a somewhat atypical gallery relatively new to the Big Apple, to present her classic yet audacious & brilliantly-hued abstract paintings in “Explorations by Francine Tint,” inhabiting Cavalier’s 4th Floor space at 3 West 57th Street (through March 24). Already, “Explorations” has garnered three enthusiastic reviews – this one is merely the fourth. (more…)