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."

SAM GILLIAM AT MNUCHIN: INNOVATIONS

December 13, 2017

Tags: Sam Gilliam

Sam Gilliam exhibition at Mnuchin Gallery. Left, "Spread;" right, "Spring Thaw." Photography Tom Powel Imaging. Artwork © Sam Gilliam.
An exhibition that surprised me very pleasantly was “Sam Gilliam: 1967-73,” at Mnuchin (through December 16). From what little of his work that I’d seen before, I entered this show with not too high expectations. (more…)

A GARLAND OF ABSTRACTS

December 6, 2017

Tags: Darcy Gerbarg, Jacqueline Humphries, Louise P. Sloane, Theodoros Stamos, Lee Krasner, Kenneth Noland

Kenneth Noland, Fete, 1959. Oil on canvas, 69 x 68.5 inche. Courtesy Yares Art.
The moment all the big spenders depart for Miami-Basel, New York galleries seem to blossom forth with abstracts. Or anyway, that’s how it was two years ago, and how it is again in 2017. So I have six shows to report on, three by juniors and three by seniors. The juniors are “Darcy Gerbarg” at Real + Art Chelsea (closed December 5); “Jacqueline Humphries” at Greene Naftali (through December 16); and “Louise P. Sloane: Selected Paintings 1977-2017” at Sideshow (through December 17). The seniors are “Theodoros Stamos (1922-1997)” at ACA (through December 23); Lee Krasner: The Umber Paintings, 1959-1962” at Paul Kasmin (through January 13); and Kenneth Noland: Circles, Early and Late” at Yares Art (through December 30). (more…)

GERSTEIN & OTHERS: CHELSEA ROUNDUP

November 25, 2017

Tags: Philip Gerstein, Maja Lisa Engelhardt, Hassel Smith, Neil Williams

Philip Gerstein, "After the Humans," 2016. Acrylic and mixed media on wood panel, 30 x 20 in.
I am overcome with remorse. Weeks ago, I saw “Philip Gerstein: Sacred Asymmetry” at The Painting Center in Chelsea and liked it a lot. It showed a great deal of care and consideration and was decidedly touching, not least because it marked a radical departure from Gerstein’s last show, which was gestural and even a bit slapdash. Yet here I am, only now reviewing it on its last day! Shame on me! I did have personal reasons for this lateness that I won’t bore you with, but it was also because I had other shows in Chelsea that I wanted to see & mention, too—namely those featuring Maja Lisa Engelhardt at Elizabeth Harris (through December 23), Hassel Smith at Washburn (through December 22), and Neil Williams in “Friends with Pop” at Dean Borghi Fine Art (through November 30). All had their virtues, but I thought Gerstein’s show stood up very well by comparison with any or all of them. (more…)

ESTHETICS W/OUT POLITICS: APPLIED ART AT THE NEUE & GREY

November 9, 2017

Tags: Josef Hoffmann, Kolomon Moser, Alfred Barr, Philip Johnson

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona Chair, designed 1929. Stainless-steel and leather, 30 7/8 x 29 x 30 in. (78.5 x 74 x 76 cm). Produced by Knoll International, New York. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, gift of Trevor F. Peck, 1963.Df.1. Photograph by Denis Farley.
I can’t say why I so much prefer the fine arts to the applied arts—maybe because I’m so hipped on meaning (even in abstraction)? But if you want a maximum of esthetics with a minimum of politics this autumn, formalism is doing very well, thanks, at two Manhattan exhibitions of interior design: “Weiner Werkstätte 1903-1932: The Luxury of Beauty,” at the Neue Galerie (through January 29, 2018) and “Partners in Design: Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Philip Johnson" at the Grey Art Gallery (through December 9). (more…)

POLITICS MEETS ESTHETICS: “PROOF” AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM

October 31, 2017

Tags: Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo

Robert Longo (American, born 1953). Untitled (Bullet Hole in Window, January 7, 2015), 2015—16. Charcoal on mounted paper, 76 x 143 in. (193 x 363.2 cm). © Robert Longo, Ståhl Collection Norrköping, Sweden. (Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac; London, Paris, Salzburg).
Am I the only person who has OD’d on politics this season? Even if you are one, too, occasionally politics and esthetics harmonize, as is (largely if not entirely) the case at The Brooklyn Museum this fall, where the show is “Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo” (through January 7). (more…)

THREE THAT MAKE A POINT

October 22, 2017

Tags: Sidney Tillim, Arlington Weithers, Ilya Bolotowsky

"The WPA" at the new Washburn Gallery in Chelsea (left to right: Pollock, Smith, Bolotowsky)
On view this month (and nearing the ends of their runs) are three newsworthy exhibitions that each make (or try to make) a point. They are: “ Deadeye Dick: Richard Bellamy and His Circle” at Peter Freeman, Inc. on Grand Street in SoHo (through October 28); “Liminal Space” at CCCADI on East 125th Street in Harlem (through October 26); and “The WPA” at Washburn on Tenth Avenue in Chelsea (through October 28). (more…)

JOHN HOYLAND: STUNNING VISITOR

October 4, 2017

Tags: John Hoyland

John Hoyland, "3.12.65," 1965. Acrylic on canvas, 88”x 154” (223.5 cm x 391.2 cm). No. 62228. © The John Hoyland Estate. All rights reserved, DACS 2017. Photograph by Colin Mills, courtesy of Pace Gallery.
At Pace on 57th Street is “John Hoyland: Stain Paintings, 1964-66” (through October 21). This is a stunning, brilliantly-colored show of seven mostly-monumental abstract acrylics by a British painter who died in 2011 at the age of 76, and who hasn’t had a solo exhibition in Manhattan since 1992. (more…)

STARS ALL OVER TOWN—

September 29, 2017

This autumn is a golden moment for lovers of fine modernist abstraction. There are four – count ‘em, 4 – excellent Manhattan gallery shows of stars of that persuasion currently on view. At the new Hales Project Room, we have Frank Bowling (through October 15). At Pace, we have John Hoyland (through October 21). At Paul Kasmin, we have Jules Olitski & Anthony Caro (through October 25), and at Yares, we have Larry Poons (through October 28).

I am a great fan of all five of these artists. However, since I started this website in 2010, I have written about Caro and Bowling 9 times apiece, about Poons 11 times, and about Olitski, 17 times. Therefore, I will confine my enthusiasm for all four of them to relatively modest dimensions this time around, in the interests of posting my remarks on all of them sooner rather than later. Since I have never written about Hoyland before, though, I will have more to say about him (and take a little longer to say it).

FIRST, THE BIRTHDAY BOY: POONS

September 29, 2017

Tags: Larry Poons

Larry Poons (b. 1937). Dimension, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 64 x 114 inches. Courtesy Yares Art.
On October 1, Larry Poons will be celebrating his 80th birthday. It doesn’t seem possible somehow. When I saw him at the opening of “Larry Poons: Momentum” (through October 28) at Yares on Fifth Avenue, he looked just as wiry and energetic as ever.

His latest paintings, too, bespoke an-ever youthful enthusiasm, as well as his hallmark medley of bright, mellifluous colors in delicately brushy configurations suggestive of floral motifs (I’m not the first to be reminded by this latest style of his of the lily-pads of Monet). (more…)

SECOND, THE OCTOGENARIAN: BOWLING

September 29, 2017

Tags: Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling, Metropolitanblooms, 1982. Acrylic on canvas, 35 1/8 x 26 5/8 inches. Courtesy Hales Project Room.
Having arrived on this planet the year before Poons did, Frank Bowling is now comfortably ensconced among the ranks of the octogenarians. He too continues to paint away as busily as ever in his London studio, but for its inaugural exhibition, the pocket-sized Hales Project Room on Delancey Street opted to offer to American viewers six modestly scaled Bowling acrylics on canvas executed in the late 70s and early 80s, when the artist was working a London studio measuring just 12 x 14 feet.

The show as a whole is called “Frank Bowling: Metropolitanbloooms” (through October 15). (more…)