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."

FUN & GAMES IN THE GALLERIES

February 11, 2018

Tags: Ray Parker, Gordon Parks, Jack Bush

Jack Bush (1909-1977), Pink Blossom, 1964. Oil on canvas, 72 x 70 inches (182.9 x 177.8 cm), Inv. #3238.
Having been in Oregon at the end of January, I’m behind in my limited reporting on the galleries, but I did do a little pulse-taking. Two Chelsea shows that inspired me to prose were “Ray Parker: The Nines” at Washburn (through March 3) and “Gordon Parks: I Am You – Part 1” at the 24th Street gallery space of Jack Shainman (closed February 10, but with “Part 2” scheduled for February 15 through March 24). A third show uptown that really turned me on was “Fields of Color” at Yares Art (through February 17). (more…)

YET ANOTHER WASHINGTON COLOR SCHOOL PAINTER: KENNETH YOUNG

February 11, 2018

Tags: Kenneth V. Young

Kenneth Victor Young (1933-2017), Untitled, circa 1972. Acrylic on canvas, 54 1/4 x 54 inches (HTC14748). Courtesy Hollis Taggart Galleries
From the fact that Yares now features Thomas Downing and Gene Davis, though neither of these Washington Color School painters ever made it to Clement Greenberg’s “preferred” list, I deduce that the market may be getting tight in those painters who were on that list. But Downing and Davis were not the only members of that school, and Hollis Taggart recently (closed February 8) showed off five untitled canvases by a third, Kenneth Victor Young, as part of an “Inventory Show.” (more…)

AND RIGHT NEXT DOOR, DAVID HOCKNEY

February 6, 2018

Tags: David Hockney

David Hockney, Kas and Jane, 1965. Crayon on paper, 17 x 13 3/4 inches framed (43.2 x 34.9 cm framed). © David Hockney.
Museum-goers up to a change in pace from the divine to the merely worldly can find lighter, cheerier sustenance at The Metropolitan Museum of Art by walking down the hall from Michelangelo to “David Hockney” (through February 25). This show of about 70 paintings, collages, drawings and photography by an internationally-known 80-year-old Yorkshire-born enfant terrible comes to the U.S. after a triumphal tour through the Tate in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. (more…)

IL DIVINO AT THE MET

February 3, 2018

Tags: Michelangelo

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, Caprese 1475–1564 Rome), Three Labours of Hercules, 1530–33. Drawing, red chalk; 10 11/16 x 16 5/8 in. (27.2 x 42.2 cm). ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST / © HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II 2017, www.royalcollection.org.uk.
Everybody today, it seems, knows who was Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475-1564)…..painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and with Leonardo da Vinci, one of the two greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance. So it should come as no surprise that this season's blockbuster exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art should be "Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer" and that it should be packing in the crowds.. The show has already been seen by more than half a million visitors, and on its final day (Monday, February 12), it (but not the rest of the museum) will be open until 9 pm. (more…)

PEINTURE PURE: MURILLO & VERONESE AT THE FRICK

January 23, 2018

Tags: Murillo, Veronese

Paolo Veronese (1528–1588), St. Jerome in the Wilderness, 1566–67. Oil on canvas, 91 × 57 1/4 inches. San Pietro Martire, Murano. Photo: Ufficio Beni Culturali del Patriarcato di Venezia.
The baroque Spanish painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682) is best known for his rather sappy renditions of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, while Venice’s Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) may be best known for his lush Renaissance allegories with humanistic overtones. Yet in two small but peerless exhibitions at The Frick Collection, we may view radically different selections from their oeuvre. One show is “Murillo: The Self–Portraits” (through February 11); the other is “Veronese in Murano: Two Venetian Renaissance Masterpieces Restored” (through March 11). (more…)

JIMMIE DURHAM AT THE WHITNEY; AMADEO MODIGLIANI AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM

January 18, 2018

Tags: Jimmie Durham, Modigliani

Installation view of the exhibition Modigliani Unmasked. September 15, 2017 – February 4, 2018. The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo: Jason Mandella.
I don’t have a lot to say about “Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art (through January 28). Therefore I shall just fold my discussion of it into my review of a show whose sheer beauty led me to linger at it a lot longer, “Modigliani Unmasked” at The Jewish Museum (February 4). Both artists are or were outsiders within their respective time frames, though what this meant for their careers varied. (more…)

“ITEMS: IS FASHION MODERN?” AT MOMA

January 13, 2018

New Era 59FIFTY style New York Yankee Scarlet fitted cap. 1996. Size 7 ⅜. Wool cap with embroidered interlocking NY front logo. Yankees Top Hat logo rear embroidery. Made in the U.S.A (Buffalo, N.Y.) An original example of the first red cap ordered by request from Spike Lee to wear at game 3 of the 1996 world series playoffs.
One of the nice things that distinguishes the three big shows of applied arts this autumn is that in one way or another their organizers espouse formal values, as opposed to sociopolitical significance. Such was true at the media preview of the clothing—and accessories---show at the Museum of Modern Art entitled “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” (through January 28). (more…)

MESMERIZING ANIMAL MUMMIES AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM

January 8, 2018

Ibis Coffin. Possibly from Tuna el-Gebel, Egypt. Ptolemaic Period, 305–30 B.C.E., with later additions. Wood, silver, gold, rock crystal, 15 1/16 x 7 15/16 x 21 15/16 in. (38.2 x 20.2 x 55.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum; Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 49.48. (Photo: Gavin Ashworth, Brooklyn Museum).
Do you like little animals, especially kitty cats? Do you groove with ancient Egyptian art & culture? And do you have (perhaps) a slight taste for the macabre? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you will enjoy “Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt” at the Brooklyn Museum (through January 21). (more…)

CHINA AT THE GUGGENHEIM: POLITICS AS USUAL

January 1, 2018

Tags: Zhao Bandi, Chen Zhen

Zhao Bandi, Young Zhang, 1992. Oil on canvas, 214 x 140 cm. Private collection, image courtesy ShangART Gallery, Shanghai.
As I’ve said before, this is a big season for politics in art, and a determined contribution in this department is “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through January 7). At least, it’s meant to be a sociopolitical show. (more…)

SAD NEWS: CHARLES MILLARD

December 26, 2017

Tags: Charles Millard

Well, in this holiday season I have sad news and glad news. The sad news is an obituary of Charles Millard, who according to a long & loving paid notice in the New York Times for December 17 died on December 11 at his home in Chapel Hill, NC. Millard was a gifted curator with an excellent eye and the force of his convictions to back it up. He was a good friend to me, but more importantly to many artists--among those mentioned in his obituary were Helen Frankenthaler, Anthony Caro, Kenneth Noland & Jules Olitski, but I know there were others as well. (more…)