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."

MAGYAR TECHNOLOGY: MOHOLY-NAGY AT THE GUGGENHEIM

July 20, 2016

Tags: László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy, A 19, 1927. Oil and graphite on canvas, 80 x 95.5 cm. Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Ann Arbor, MI. © 2016 Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
I wanted to review “Moholy-Nagy: Future Present” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through September 7) because the subject was a Hungarian (I’m half-Hungarian). The Guggenheim clearly wanted the show because the artist was gung-ho for technology, exploring every which way to make art (like all pomonians, it values process over product). We were both wrong. (more…)

SUMMERTIME IN CHELSEA

July 14, 2016

Tags: Hofmann, Bo Bartlett, Darby Bannard

Walter Darby Bannard, Green Grip #2, 1964-1965. Acrylic on canvas, 66 3/4 x 63 inches. Courtesy Berry Campbell.
Ameringer McEnery Yohe has a small show of 30s and early 40s Hans Hofmann in its back gallery, and a large show of recent work by Bo Bartlett, a 60-year-old allegorical realist, in its front two galleries (both shows through August 12). Berry Campbell is devoting its entire exhibition space to “Summer Selections” (through July 22). All three exhibitions are not without interest—but if I am rushing into print with this review (only a day after my last post), it’s primarily to tell my readers about the Berry Campbell show before it closes. (more…)

“A STRANGE NEW BEAUTY:” DEGAS & THE MONOTYPE AT MOMA

July 13, 2016

Tags: Degas

Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917). Three Women in a Brothel, Seen from Behind (Trois filles assises de dos), c. 1877–79. Pastel over monotype on paper. 6 5/16 x 8 7/16 in. (16.1 x 21.4 cm). Musée Picasso, Paris.
There were four giants of impression, four historic heroes who banded together to display their work at the first impressionist exhibition in 1874, and withstood the barbs of more conventional observers to create a new and historic style. They were Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir & Edgar Degas. (more…)

VIVE LA DÉCADENCE! “PERGAMON” AT THE MET

July 7, 2016

Tags: Phidias

The Akropolis of Pergamon. By Friedrich (von) Thiersch, 1882. Pen and ink with watercolor on canvas, H. 78 in. (198 cm), W. 11 ft. 53/4 in. (350 cm). Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Graph 91). Image: © SMB / Antikensammlung.
I can’t remember when and where I was first introduced to Hellenistic sculpture, but almost in the same breath, I was told that it was decadent, following as it did the archaic of the 6th century BC and the classic of the 5th. (more…)

KENWORTH WILLIAM MOFFETT, 1934 - 2016

June 30, 2016

Tags: Kenworth Moffett

Ken Moffett – curator extraordinaire, museum director, art critic, art historian and most importantly, dear friend to many artists – died on June 21 at the age of 81, at his home in Stamford Connecticut. The cause of death was pneumonia compounded by complications from the heart surgery he underwent last November. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Horvath Moffett; his daughter, Kathryn (Kay) Moffett; his son-in-law, Neil Parker; and his granddaughter, Matilda Moffett Parker. (more…)

SMALL ISLANDS, BIG CHARM

June 16, 2016

Tags: Arthur Yanoff

Arthur Yanoff, Windward Mark, 2013-15. Acrylic and collage on canvas, 43 x 79 1/4 inches.
The Thimble Islands are an archipelago of more than 100 pieces of land in Long Island Sound, off northeastern Connecticut. Some are big enough for people to live on, but many more are just tiny granite outcroppings. Arthur Yanoff visited them a year or so ago, and created a sequence of abstract paintings about them. This is now the subject of a charming little exhibition at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut. (more…)

WHAT OUR GALLERISTS HAVE BEEN UP TO

June 2, 2016

Tags: Frank Bowling, Jules Olitski, Roy Lichtenstein, Kenneth Noland, Stanley Boxer, Lee Krasner, Esteban Vicente, Yunhee Min

Yunhee Min, Movements (swell 1), 2015. Acrylic on linen, 45 x 45 inches (114.3 x 114.3 cm). (AMY28111). Courtesy Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe & the artist.
Our enterprising gallerists have more than one way to promote the artists they believe in. Here's a rundown of a slew of displays of work during this past winter and spring that I’ve found worth prospecting. (more…)

VAN DYCK AT THE FRICK: MASTER PORTRAITIST

May 22, 2016

Tags: Van Dyck

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641). Charles I and Henrietta Maria Holding a Laurel Wreath, 1632. Oil on canvas. Arcibiskupský zámek a zahrady v Kroměříži, Kroměříž.
At The Frick Collection, though you may have to hustle before it closes, is “Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture” (through June 5). For those with eyes unblinkered by Duchampianism, this 17th century maestro offers a thoroughly admirable object lesson in how to please one’s contemporaries while also pleasuring generations to come. (more…)

THE MET AND THE MEDIA

May 17, 2016

Tags: Nasreen Mohamedi, Titian

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), (Italian, ca. 1485/90?–1576), The Flaying of Marsyas, probably 1570s. Oil on canvas, 86 5⁄8 × 80 1⁄4 in. (220 × 204 cm). Archdiocese Olomouc, Archiepiscopal Palace, Picture Gallery, Kromĕříž.
On May 22, The Metropolitan Museum of Art made Page One of the New York Times, contrasted negatively with the Museum of Modern Art. To understand this placement, the truth of the story, and the extent to which it propagated the situation described, one must know something about how the Times treats art in general.

(more…)

POLITICS: THE OUTLOOK

May 2, 2016

Tags: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump

On April 19, I voted in the New York State primary. This, I learned four days later, was my one chance to materially affect the outcome of the 2106 race to the White House.

What happened four days later? Well, I attended a very interesting “Women in Media Conference” at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. (more…)