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."

SUMMER INTO AUTUMN AT THE MET: AN INSIGHT INTO THE PERMANENT COLLECTION, A BLOCKBUSTER, 4 LESS SUCCESSFUL SHOWS & FINALLY, TWO SMALL GEMS

September 19, 2018

Unknown American [Studio Portrait] , 1940s–50s. Gelatin silver print. Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2015. 2015.309
Everybody else is hurtling into autumn, but before I plunge into "Eugène Delacroix," the huge and highly appealing autumn show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, let me linger briefly over an insight I had into its permanent collection this summer.

I shall also offer a few thoughts about "Heavenly Bodies" its record-shattering summer blockbuster (through October 8), and four smaller and less successful spring-into-summer shows, since closed..

Finally let me call to your attention two very small but altogether delectable exhibitions, both still with us: "Dangerous Beauty: Medusa in Classical Art” (through January 6, 2019) and “African American Portraits: Photographs from the 1940s and 1950s." (through October 6). (more…)

SOUTINE/ GIACOMETTI: TWO PARISIAN GIFTS FOR THE SUMMER

September 10, 2018

Tags: Soutine, Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti, Suspended Ball (Boule suspendue), 1930–31. Plaster, painted metal, and string, 60.6 x 35.6 x 36.1 cm. Fondation Giacometti, Paris © 2018 Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York.

What a range of art Paris hosted in the years between the two world wars! At The Jewish Museum, the big summer show is “Chaim Soutine: Flesh” (through September 16). It presents 32 mostly still-life paintings that the moody, Russian-born expressionist made between ca. 1916, three years after he arrived in Paris at the age of 20, and 1943, the year of his death. At the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the big show is “Giacometti” (through September 12). This full-dress retrospective takes the wickedly witty Swiss-born, Paris-based sculptor (1901-1966) from his early surrealist period , in the late 1920s and early 1930s, through his "existential" period, at its apogee in the 1950s and 1960s, (more…)

WHAT’S UP AT THE MODERN? YES, THE MODERN

September 5, 2018

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler, Brancusi, Vojin Bakic

Berislav Šerbetić and Vojin Bakić. Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija. 1979–81. Petrova Gora, Croatia. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016.
On August 8, I paid a call to The Museum of Modern Art. First, I skated through the current hanging of its permanent collection (ongoing). Second, I took in "Constantin Brancusi Sculpture" (through February 18, 2019). Third -- and most absorbing -- I visited "Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980" (through January 13, 2019). (more…)

GERHARD RICHTER: ABSTRAKTION

August 24, 2018

Tags: Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter, "A B, Still (612-4)," 1986. Oil on canvas, 225 x 200 cm, Museum Barberini, © Gerhard Richter 2018 (29062018).
I am happy to welcome a guest contributor to this column: David Evison has given us the review below of "Gerhard Richter : Abstraktion," which is at the Museum Barberini Potsdam, in Brandenburg (until 21 October 2018)
(more…)

AN AFTERNOON IN CHELSEA

August 12, 2018

Tags: Etel Adnan, Ricardo Mazal, Hiroshi Senju, Darby Bannard, Larry Zox, Larry Poons, James Walsh, Joyce Weinsteinm Mike Solomon, Syd Solomon, Albert Stadler, Eric Dever, Judith Godwin

Judith Godwin, Betrayal, 1976. Oil on canvas, 50 x 48 inches. Courtesy Berry Campbell.
On a recent trip to Chelsea, I found one big show & two lesser shows that I’d recommend, in whole or at least in part. The lesser shows with some work I liked were “Etel Adnan, Ione Saldanha & Carolee Schneemann: Of the Self and of the Other,” at Galerie Lelong & Co, (closed August 3), and the “Summer Group Show” at Sundaram Tagore (through September 1). The big show where I liked practically everything I saw was "Summer Selections," at Berry Campbell (through August 17). (more…)

PORTRAIT OF AN EXHIBITION ON 57TH STREET

July 10, 2018

Tags: Gene Davis, Hans Hofmann, Cleve Gray

Hans Hofmann ( German, 1880-1966), The Climb, 1960. Oil on board, 84 x 48 inches.
Beginning all over again, I am going to review a most remarkable & welcome exhibition at the Manhattan venue of Cavalier at 3 West 57th Street. The show is entitled “57th Street: America’s Artistic Legacy – Part I.” As nearly as I can tell, both its sculpture and more importantly its paintings were selected and hung by Ron Cavalier, co-founder and president of the gallery. This show opened on June 15th, and I am going to review what I saw when I visited it on Saturday, July 20th. (more…)

THOMAS DOWNING AT YARES...WHAT A BEAUTIFL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD....

July 9, 2018

Tags: Thomas Downing

Thomas Downing, Untitled, 1959, Acrylic on canvas, 77 5/8 x 92 inches (197.2 x 233.7cm).
Sorry folks, but Halasz’s lunch break seems to have gone on rather longer than originally intended….She is reporting back for duty on Thursday, July 19 and her remarks follow .

On July 1, at 2 am, I managed to hit my head so hard that it took 14 (or was it 16?) staples to close the scalp wound I’d incurred. Physically I seem to be recuperating nicely, but getting my head back together again in a figurative sense is proving harder. I do hope I am now up to giving you a report on “Thomas Downing: Spot On” at Yares Art at 745 Fifth Avenue (through August 6). This report will consist of (more…)

A MESSAGE TO BENJAMIN

June 26, 2018

Tags: Carolyn Maloney, Suraj Patel, Winston Churchill

Oh say can you see....
Monday evening, 6/25/18

First, among the small but loyal band of people who subscribe to the print edition of (An Appropriate Distance) From the Mayor’s Doorstep are – gasp, yes, a few Republicans.

And, because its subject is primarily art, I normally try to avoid discussing my admittedly Democratic preferences in it.

I feel that art and politics are like apples and oranges, irrelevant to one another.

Though I know that many great artists have used their art to make political statements, it is because of the quality of their art as art which has made those works survive. Whatever political situations they may have been concerned with, as time passes are forgotten, so irrelevant that it becomes necessary to explain them in museum labels.

That said, on this occasion, I am going to discuss my preference in the Democratic primaries being held today, June 26, in New York State’s 12th Congressional District. This is where I live, and it is a heavily blue district in a heavily blue state. Thus whoever wins the primary is more or less assured of election in November. (more…)