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Report from the Front

Art criticism, sometimes with context, occasional politics. Published in hard copy 2-4 times a year. New shows: "events;" hard copy rates & how to support the online edition: "works."

 

FYI: Carl Hazlewood & Friedel Dzubas

FYI: "Artcritical," a website which needs no introduction for my readers, has published my review of "Friedel Dzubas," a new book by Patricia Lewy.  Here's a link: Friedel Dzubas, by Patricia Lewy

 

And "Delicious Line," a new website edited by Franklin Einspruch, has published my review of Carl Hazlewood's show at June Kelly.   Here's a link: Carl Hazlewood at June Kelly

 

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NEIGES D'ANTAN: SNOWDRIFTS AT LICHTUNDFIRE

Jung Ho Lee, Untitled IX, 2018.  Oil and acrylic on linen, 28 1/2 x 24 inches.  Courtesy Lichtundfire.

 

 

 

A show of contemporary art that I related to was "Remember When It Winter Was" (closed January 12). It was at held at Lichtundfire on the Lower East Side, and despite its political window-dressing, was (thankfully) mostly about the visual in art. Read More 

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AB-EX IN BUD: "GLOBALISM" AT ROSENFELD

Mark Rothko (1903–1970), Composition, 1941-42, oil on canvas, 28 1/2" x 24 1/2", signed; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
 

One historical show I related to – indeed, strongly related – was "Globalism Pops Back Into View: The Rise of Abstract Expressionism," at Michael Rosenfeld (closed January 25). 

 

This gallery has two specialties, abstract expressionism and African-American art.  By focusing on ab-ex in the early 1940s, before the movement went totally abstract, this show was also able to include a number of distinguished African-American artists who not even by the 1950s  had gone totally abstract, but who created some powerful paintings nevertheless.  In this context, everybody looks perfectly grand. Read More 

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EDITH HALPERT AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM: COMBINING BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE

Stuart Davis, Egg Beater No. 1, 1927, oil on linen. Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.169. Artwork © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

 

In 1906, a 6-year-old girl, Edith Gregoryevna Fivoosiovitch, migrated from Kyev (then in Russia, now in Ukraine) with her family to New York City.  She grew up to love art, study it and try to make it, but doesn't seem to have been very good at it herself. She therefore learned all about selling in Manhattan department stores and elsewhere. 

 

She married a painter, Samuel Halpert, became known as Edith Gregor Halpert, and in 1926 opened in Greenwich Village what was to become known as the Downtown Gallery.  The tale of this pioneering art dealer, the first to exclusively represent American moderns and American folk art, is told in absorbing detail by "Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art" at The Jewish Museum (through February 9). Read More 

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ONE OF THE BEST: JAMES WALSH AT BERRY CAMPBELL

James Walsh, Flint Sky, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 30 inches.  Courtesy Berry Campbell.

 

It was standing-room-only at the opening for "James Walsh: The Elemental" at Berry Campbell (through February 8).  Nor did this long-awaited show disappoint: it more than lives up to advance expectations and shows this gifted mid-career artist spreading joy along with pigment and molding paste in peak form. Indeed, James Walsh is one of the best. Read More 

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FÉLIX VALLOTTON AT THE MET: DYSTOPIAN GAIETY

Félix Vallotton (1865-1925), The Lie, 1897. Oil on artist's board, 9–1/ 2 × 13–1/3 in. (24 × 33.3 cm). The Baltimore Museum of Art. The Cone Collection, formed by Dr Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.298

At The Metropolitan Museum of Art we have "Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet" (through January 26). If you can insulate yourself from this show's dystopian title and accompanying dystopian verbiage, you may enjoy some of the very pleasurable painting it displays by an artist who reached the acme of his accomplishments in the 1890s, or only a decade or so before artists as varied as Kirchner and yes, even Matisse (to say nothing of Picasso, Braque & Duchamp) were beginning to put simplicity, strength, and emotion and/or wit before beauty as traditionally defined. Read More 

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KIRCHNER AT THE NEUE GALERIE: TEUTONIC RADICAL

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), Tightrope Walk, 1908-10. Oil on canvas, Neue Galerie New York
 
 

 

 

The fact that Die Neue Galerie is taking a fresh look at "Ernst Ludwig Kirchner" (through January 13) is attested to by the fact that it has installed this splendid show of one of Germany's early 20th century pioneers very differently from most of the shows it has held in its third-floor space.  Instead of turning to the right as you get off the elevator, in order to start the show, you must now turn to the left and traverse the narrow hall (with a printed chronology on its wall) to get to the show's first display, in the spacious gallery backing up against Fifth Avenue on the west side of the building. Read More 

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BANANAS, DUCT TAPE & THEIR RELATION TO THE NEW YORK TIMES

One-half of "Comedian"

 

 

In the really old days, before the advent of the talkies in 1927, the lowest form of variety show in the U.S. was burlesque, home of striptease and the raunchiest jokes.  Here's where the phrase, "top banana," originated, meaning the lead comedian in the show.

 

I suspect this info is already known to Maurizio Cattelan, the Italian conceptualist, heretofore famous as the creator of "America:" a fully-functional, solid gold toilet that had art-lovers who visited the Guggenheim Museum in New York a year or so ago lined up to use it. 

 

Why do I suspect that this artiste is already familiar with the phrase, "top banana"? I say this because his contribution to civilization this year was a real, live banana fastened by silvery-grey duct tape to a partition in the Paris-based Perrotin gallery booth at Miami Basel.  Its title was "Comedian," and its price tag ranged from $120,000 to $150,000. Read More 

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LARRY ZOX AT BERRY CAMPBELL: COURAGEOUS

Larry Zox (1937-2006), Untitled, c. 1974.  Acrylic on canvas, 81 1/2 x 92 1/2 inches (ZOX-00139).  Courtesy Berry Campbell.

 

When I last reviewed what seems to have been a more wide-ranging show by Larry Zox, staged by Berry Campbell in May 2017, I concluded that in the 60s, he was more of a minimalist, but by the later 70s, had become more of a modernist – courageously swimming as it were against the tide. This latest – and highly enjoyable -- show catches him in a transitional phase.  It is "Larry Zox: Open Series (1972-1975)", and is again at Berry Campbell, but if you want to see it, you need to hustle, as it is only up until December 20 – this coming Friday. Read More 

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ELIE NADELMAN AT KASMIN: REFRESHINGLY FORMAL

"Elie Nadelman: Significant Form," at Paul Kasmin, November 7-December 21, 2019. Installation shot.  © The Estate of Elie Nadelman. Photography by Diego Flores.

 

On those occasions when I've seen sculpture by Elie Nadelman in the past, I've found its pointy-toed ladies and pin-headed men a little too cute for me.  However, I have great respect for the taste of David Evison, the sculptor, and on a recent whirlwind visit to New York, he made a point of checking out "Elie Nadelman: Significant Form" at Paul Kasmin in Chelsea (through December 21). I therefore high-tailed it downtown to see what there was to see. Read More 

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