(An Appropriate Distance)


FROM THE MAYOR'S DOORSTEP

By Piri Halasz

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Report from the Front

Art criticism, art comment, occasional politics. Published in hard copy 5-7 times a year. For new shows, see "events;" for hard-copy rates and ways to support the online edition, see "works."

NOODLING AROUND THE UES

November 14, 2014

Tags: Hofmann, Sholto Ainslie, Thomas Hart Benton

Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975). Midwest from America Today (1930–31), mural cycle consisting of ten panels. Egg tempera with oil glazing over Permalba on a gesso ground on linen mounted to wood panels with a honeycomb interior. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of AXA Equitable, 2012
I feel guilty at not getting to Chelsea more often, or wherever this new recrudescence of abstraction is supposedly taking place. Abstract artist-friends have been telling me how much more new abstract painting there is than there used to be, but I haven’t seen anything recently I could recommend.

Imagine my delight, then, (more…)

FROM THE FORTIES: LEWIS, KRASNER

November 2, 2014

Tags: Norman Lewis, Lee Krasner

Installation view of From the Margins: Lee Krasner/Norman Lewis, 1945-52. (c) The Jewish Museum, New York. Photo by: David Heald. 2nd from left: "Twilight Sounds;" 4th from left: "Stop and Go;" 5th from left, "Black and White Squares No. 1;" 1st from right: "Magenta Haze."
At The Jewish Museum, we have “From the Margins: Lee Krasner / Norman Lewis, 1945-1952” (through February 1). The implication of this title is that these two artists have been unfairly marginalized in the critical dialog surrounding abstract expressionism because one artist was a woman and the other was of African descent. (Here we go again – that old devil Clement Greenberg was a racist & a sexist, and Harold Rosenberg must – for once – have been just as bad.) (more…)

COMING ATTRACTIONS, PART TWO (ALMOST ALL ALREADY HERE)

October 27, 2014

Richard Estes. Diner. 1971. Oil on canvas, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Museum purchase 1977 . © Richard Estes, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York. Photo by Lee Stalsworth.
Here's the second installment of my report on exhibitions of greater than average interest this autumn, not only in New York but also within busing distance of the Big Apple.

The Museum of Modern Art has several “historical” retrospectives on the boards for this season. There’s one for Robert Gober (more…)

COMING ATTRACTIONS, PART ONE (SOME ALREADY HERE)

October 20, 2014

Helena Rubinstein holding one of her masks from the Ivory Coast, 1934. Photograph by George Maillard Kesslere. Helena Rubinstein Foundation Archives, Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY, Gladys Marcus Library, Special Collections
Once again, a new fall season awaits us. Although I’m a bit late with it, I’d like to give you folks a rundown on coming attractions at the museums--some of which are already here. Sometimes I don’t get around to reviewing these shows until they’re fairly far along, which is (more…)

TWO UNFORGETTABLES

October 12, 2014

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis

Morris Louis, Tet, 1958. Acrylic resin (Magna) on canvas, 94 1/8 x 152 1/8 in. (239.1 x 386.4 cm.) Collection Whitney Museum, New York, NY, courtesy Mnuchin Gallery. Digital image (c) Whitney Museum of Art, NY (c) 2014 Maryland College Institute of Art (MICA). Rights administered by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, All Rights Reserved
Two unforgettables are currently in their last week of exposure on the Upper East Side, Helen Frankenthaler at Gagosian & Morris Louis at Mnuchin. If you haven't already seen these splendid shows, make a point of getting there--this is painting as painting should be (and so rarely is).

Peter Schjeldahl, in the New Yorker, was (more…)

4 FOR THE FUTURE

October 6, 2014

Tags: George Hofmann, Ben Dowell, Liv Mette Larsen, Paula De Luccia

Left to right: Paula De Luccia, Mill Wild(2008); Liv Mette Larsen, Neighborhood X (2014); Neighborhood IV (2014); and Neighborhood IX (2014).
In Manhattan just now we have two shows with four artists between them, all worthy of note. Two of these artists, George Hofmann & Ben Dowell, are holding forth in Williamsburg, while the other two, Liv Mette Larsen & Paula De Luccia, can be found on the Lower East Side. (more…)

A MONARCH JUST EMERGING FROM HIS CHRYSALIS

September 24, 2014

Tags: Motherwell

Robert Motherwell. The Voyage, 1949. Oil and tempera on paper mounted on composition board. 48 x 94 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller, 1955.
Only last autumn, when I was reviewing the exhibition of collages from the 1940s by Robert Motherwell at the Guggenheim, I was wishing the show also included his paintings from the same period. Now I have gotten my wish, in an intriguing and inspiring show at The Guild Hall in (more…)

TWO OUT OF THREE AT THE EAST END

September 13, 2014

Tags: Pollock, William Glackens

William Glackens (American, 1870-1938). Far from the Fresh Air Farm: The Crowded City Street, with its Dangers and Temptations, Is a Pitiful Makeshift Playground for Children. 1911. Crayon heightened with watercolor on paper, 24 12/ x 16 1/2 inches. Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Bequest of Ira Glackens, 91.41.152
I didn’t get to the Hamptons until August this year, but that was all to the good, as three stellar exhibitions had only recently opened—and will be up into October. One’s on three dealers who represented Jackson Pollock in the 40s and 50s, one’s on that stalwart impressionist of “The 8,” William Glackens, and one displays early work by Robert Motherwell. In this posting, I’ll deal with the first two: all three are equally worthy, but I just don’t have time to write about all of them at present.

“POLLOCK’S CHAMPIONS”

The show that chronicles Pollock’s three major dealers is, not surprisingly, at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, in The Springs of East Hampton. It’s titled “Pollock’s Champions,” and was organized by Bobbi Coller, PhD, guest curator (through October 31). As Coller observes, in her introductory wall text, “An artist’s relationship with his or her dealer is an unusual and complex partnership,” and certainly “much more than a business agreement.” (more…)

THE WORLD IN AN APPLE: CÉZANNE IN PHILLY

August 30, 2014

Tags: Cézanne

Paul Cézanne, Pitcher and Plate with Pears (Pichet et assiette de poires), 1895–98, oil on canvas, 19 5⁄16 × 23 3⁄16 in. (49 × 59 cm), Private Collection (Courtesy Nancy Whyte Fine Arts, Inc).
You would think that, with 69 Cézannes in its permanent collection, the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia might feel it had enough Cézanne, but no—it seems to feel that it can never get enough.

Since I feel the same way, I beat feet to Philadelphia to see the Barnes’s latest special exhibition, (more…)

OLD & NEW

August 23, 2014

Tags: J. M. W. Turner, Thomas Girtin, Master of Claude de France, William Perehudoff

William Perehudoff (1918 - 2013), AC-85-015, 1985, acrylic on canvas, 42 x 82 inches. Courtesy Berry Campbell Gallery, New York.
Pomonians tend to have short artistic memories. Or so, at least, is the conclusion I've come to from seeing how august museums like the Met, the Frick and the Morgan seem to feel that to attract younger museum-goers, they must augment their invaluable holdings in older art with all the latest buzz (no matter how feeble). Modernists, on the other hand, (more…)

Selected Works

Memoir
A journalist tells how she developed a radical theory of abstract painting through varied experience.
Travel
The go-go mini-guide telling where ‘60s swingers hung out, and how they went about swinging.

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