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 AT THE MET: STATISTICS & THREE TO COOL OFF WITH

August 29, 2015

Tags: John Singer Sargent, George Caleb Bingham

George Caleb Bingham, American, 1811–1879. The Jolly Flatboatmen. Oil on canvas, 38 1/8 × 48 1/2 in. (96.8 × 123.2 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington. Patrons’ Permanent Fund.
Summer is a grand time to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Despite the crowds it draws it never gets all filled up (except in the cafeteria at lunchtime), and the temperature is so divinely cool. But don’t be deceived by those aristocratic high ceilings and genteel atmosphere of unconcern: the museum is nevertheless packing them in. (more…)

STANLEY WHITNEY: "DANCE THE ORANGE"

August 24, 2015

Tags: Stanley Whitney

Stanley Whitney, In Our Songs, 1996. Oil on linen, 77 × 103 inches.
Not only has this city been luxuriating in warm but not desperately hot air this summer; even better, it has discovered a new culture hero. He is Stanley Whitney, whose abstract paintings are or have been on display in two exhibitions. “Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange” is of 21st century work, and is at The Studio Museum in Harlem (through October 25). (more…)

CROWNING JOYS AT THE CROWN BUILDING

August 7, 2015

Tags: Peter Reginato, Stone Roberts, Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis (1881-1962), Dawn, Sandy Hook, Connecticut, c.1933. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.
Back in the 1960s, when I was patrolling the art scene for Time and 57th Street was the center of the action, the Crown Building, at 730 Fifth Avenue, didn’t count for much, even though its entrance was just around the corner from 57th Street.

Nowadays, all that has changed. Even though the center of the art action has shifted southward, the Crown Building has become the HQ for a handful of good-sized galleries – three of which stood out for me in a recent visit. (more…)

BROTHER ACT

August 1, 2015

Tags: Kenneth Noland, Neil Noland

Neil Noland, Untitled, 6-29-83. Glazed ceramic, 15 1/4 x 25 x 1 in. Lent by Johanna Vanderbeek.
Again I’m late, but still want to report on two good shows by talented brothers. One show displayed shaped canvases by Kenneth Noland in Manhattan (closed yesterday); the other featured ceramic sculptures by Neil Noland, one of Kenneth’s younger brothers, on Long Island (closed today). I’ll also report on two art fairs I saw on Long Island. (more…)

MANNA FOR ANGLOPHILES

July 25, 2015

Tags: Frederic Leighton

Frederic Leighton, Flaming June, ca. 1895. Oil on canvas, 46 7/8 x 46 7/8 inches. Museo de Arte de Ponce, The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc.
Being a passionate Anglophile, I’m delighted by two of this summer’s shows. They are “The Critique of Reason: Romantic Art, 1760-1860,” at the Yale University Art Gallery (with 300 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs and medallions, through July 26), and “Flaming June,” at The Frick Collection (just one painting—but what a one!—through September 6). (more…)

SMOLDERING, CHEKHOVIAN, + A LINK TO LINK

July 17, 2015

Tags: James Little, Philip Gerstein, John Link

Philip Gerstein, Ysabel's Table Dance (composite alternative take), 2007-2012. Oil stick & acrylic on canvas, 54 x 63 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Again racing against the clock, I present two more shows by abstract painters I’ve seen and admired: “James Little: Color/Barriers, Recent Work” at June Kelly in SoHo (closed June 23) and “Being There: Abstract Paintings of Philip Gerstein” at André Zarre in Chelsea (through July 29). Plus a link to a lively article by John Link. (more…)

THE NEW, NEW WHITNEY--THE HOT HOT NEWS OF THE SEASON (WITH A CODA ON THE MISHKIN)

July 11, 2015

Whitney Museum of American Art. View from Gansevoort Street. Photographed by Ed Lederman, 2015.
Everybody asks me, “Have you seen the new Whitney?” Well, yes, I have – along with about 2/3 of New York. The reason everybody asks, I suspect, is so that they can say they’ve seen it, too. The brand-new home of The Whitney Museum of American Art, in Lower Manhattan, must be the most popular and fashionable spot to visit this season. (more…)

WRINKLES, STRIPES & LINKS

July 4, 2015

Tags: Simon Hantaï, Tegene Kunbi, Friedel Dzubas

Tegene Kunbi, Danjerus Cable, 2015. Oil on canvas, 39 x 19 inches (100 x 50 cm). Image courtesy of Thatcher Projects, New York
We've had so many good abstract shows this spring that I must double up on some of them in order to catch at least a few before they close. Here I introduce those of Simon Hantaï at Mnuchin (closed June 26) and Tegene Kunbi at Margaret Thatcher Projects (up through July 17). To say nothing of some links well worth pursuing.

(more…)

TOUCHING FIVE (COUNT 'EM, 5)BASES

June 27, 2015

Tags: Björk, Peter Malone, Subodh Gupta, Stanley Whitney, Lucy Jones

Lucy Jones, Lucy Jones with Her Walking Stick, 1996. Oil on canvas, 86 x 61 3/4 in. Courtesy of the artist and Flowers Gallery, London/New York
Continuing my rounds of exhibitions greatly or slightly off the modernist path, I comment (belatedly, alas)on 1) “Björk” at the Museum of Modern Art (closed June 7); 2) “Peter Malone: Paintings” at The Painting Center (closed March 28); 3) “Subodh Gupta. Seven Billion Light Years” at Hauser & Wirth (closed April 25), as compared to “The Painter of Modern Life” at Anton Kern (closed April 11); and 4) "Lucy Jones: How Did You Get on This Canvas?” at Flowers (closed May 9). (more…)

"SWINGING LONDON" REVISITED

June 22, 2015

Tags: Piri Halasz

Piri Halasz delivered a paper on June 20 at a conference in New Haven of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars on “Transition from Mystery to History: How the Internet Revived My Faith in ‘Swinging London.’” (more…)