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."

"ANN WALSH: COLORS" AT SAM & ADELE GOLDEN

October 22, 2018

Tags: Ann Walsh

It is not my custom to review shows I haven’t seen, but I feel moved to say a few words about “Ann Walsh: Colors,” at the Sam & Adele Golden Gallery in New Berlin, New York (through March 15, 2019). That is because although I haven’t seen this particular show, I have seen a lot of Walsh’s work in her basement studio in Greenwich Village over the years. The result is that when I look at the photographs in the handsome catalogue, I feel I am among old friends. (more…)

DELACROIX IN THE AGE OF DUCHAMP

October 15, 2018

Tags: Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix, (French, 1798–1863), Young Tiger Playing with Its Mother, 1830. Oil on canvas, 130 x 195 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Franck Raux
Was Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) a young radical? An old radical? Or was he merely another ambitious member of the 19th century French art-world Establishment following tamely in the footsteps of Ingres? Attempting to deal with these issues is “Delacroix,” the sprawling and lovely retrospective that has come to The Metropolitan Museum of Art after its inaugural run at The Louvre earlier this year (and here in New York through January 6).

Alas, instead of answering these questions, the show shies away from them-- primarily through its accompanying literature, but also (even if necessary) through its choice of work to display. (more…)

AN EFFLORESCENCE OF ABSTRACTS (in four parts)

September 28, 2018

Possibly because it’s September, we are being treated to a spate of fine abstraction, including shows by Larry Poons, Anne Truitt, Frank Bowling & Ed Clark. Since a) I couldn’t decide which of these following four exhibitions were most deserving of illustration and b) I have already written about these four excellent artists before, I am going to give my readers four relatively abbreviated descriptions of these creations in the following posts. My hope is that, in getting my thoughts online at least two weeks before the first of these shows goes down, I will enable my readers to get to them by themselves, and witness the wonders I describe for themselves.

AT MNUCHIN: ED CLARK

September 28, 2018

Tags: Ed Clark

Ed Clark, Elevation, 1992. Acrylic on canvas, 114 x 150 inches (289.6 x 381 cm). Courtesy Mnuchin Gallery, New York. Artwork © Ed Clark. Photography Tom Powel Imaging.
With a birth date of May 6, 1926, New Orleans-born, Paris-educated Ed Clark doesn’t get around that much anymore. However, Mnuchin on East 78th Street has taken over the task of promulgating his talents with “Ed Clark: A Survey” (through October 20). This handsome group consists of 20 medium-sized to very large abstract paintings dating from the last half-century -- plus a touching little and very representational self-portrait from 1947-49. (more…)

AT ALEXANDER GRAY: FRANK BOWLING

September 28, 2018

Tags: Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling, Elder Sun Benjamin, 2018. Acrylic and mixed media on collaged canvas, 119.29h x 203.54w in. (303h x 517w cm.) Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York; Hales Gallery, London. © 2018 Frank Bowling.
With a birthdate of February 26, 1934, Guyana-born, London-based Frank Bowling finds it harder to get around than it used to be, but he still made it to the opening of “Frank Bowling: Make It New” at Alexander Gray Associates (through October 13). And all his American fans (including myself) were very glad to see him. (more…)

AT MATTHEW MARKS: ANNE TRUITT

September 28, 2018

Tags: Anne Truitt

Installation view from "Anne Truitt Paintings", Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, September 14 – October 27, 2018. Image courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery. Photography: Aaron Wax. ©Estate of Anne Truitt / The Bridgeman Art Library / Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.
Anne Truitt (1921-2004) is no longer with us, but her art most assuredly lives on. She is best known for her remarkably pure but nonetheless sinewy tall narrow sculptures, like square columns. Now that she is gone, this is the second Truitt paintings show that Matthew Marks (which represents the estate) has put on. I liked the first okay, but this one is much, much better—in fact, like socko. (more…)

AT YARES ART: LARRY POONS

September 28, 2018

Tags: Larry Poons

Larry Poons (b. 1937). Rain of Terror, 1977. Acrylic on canvas, 111 1/2 x 108 inches (283.2 x 274.3cm). (Inv# 2953). Courtesy Yares Art.
At the tender age of 81, Larry Poons keeps on having so many shows that I have difficulty keeping up with him. But the last solo exhibition of his that I reviewed – exactly a year ago, and also at Yares Art– placed the emphasis on his recent paintings, and allotted only a smaller and less conspicuous space to the earlier ones. This time the shoe is on the other foot.
(more…)

SUMMER INTO AUTUMN AT THE MET: AN INSIGHT INTO THE PERMANENT COLLECTION, A BLOCKBUSTER, 4 LESS SUCCESSFUL SHOWS & FINALLY, TWO SMALL GEMS

September 19, 2018

Unknown American [Studio Portrait] , 1940s–50s. Gelatin silver print. Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2015. 2015.309
Everybody else is hurtling into autumn, but before I plunge into "Eugène Delacroix," the huge and highly appealing autumn show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, let me linger briefly over an insight I had into its permanent collection this summer.

I shall also offer a few thoughts about "Heavenly Bodies" its record-shattering summer blockbuster (through October 8), and four smaller and less successful spring-into-summer shows, since closed..

Finally let me call to your attention two very small but altogether delectable exhibitions, both still with us: "Dangerous Beauty: Medusa in Classical Art” (through January 6, 2019) and “African American Portraits: Photographs from the 1940s and 1950s." (through October 6). (more…)

SOUTINE/ GIACOMETTI: TWO PARISIAN GIFTS FOR THE SUMMER

September 10, 2018

Tags: Soutine, Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti, Suspended Ball (Boule suspendue), 1930–31. Plaster, painted metal, and string, 60.6 x 35.6 x 36.1 cm. Fondation Giacometti, Paris © 2018 Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York.

What a range of art Paris hosted in the years between the two world wars! At The Jewish Museum, the big summer show is “Chaim Soutine: Flesh” (through September 16). It presents 32 mostly still-life paintings that the moody, Russian-born expressionist made between ca. 1916, three years after he arrived in Paris at the age of 20, and 1943, the year of his death. At the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the big show is “Giacometti” (through September 12). This full-dress retrospective takes the wickedly witty Swiss-born, Paris-based sculptor (1901-1966) from his early surrealist period , in the late 1920s and early 1930s, through his "existential" period, at its apogee in the 1950s and 1960s, (more…)

WHAT’S UP AT THE MODERN? YES, THE MODERN

September 5, 2018

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler, Brancusi, Vojin Bakic

Berislav Šerbetić and Vojin Bakić. Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija. 1979–81. Petrova Gora, Croatia. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016.
On August 8, I paid a call to The Museum of Modern Art. First, I skated through the current hanging of its permanent collection (ongoing). Second, I took in "Constantin Brancusi Sculpture" (through February 18, 2019). Third -- and most absorbing -- I visited "Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980" (through January 13, 2019). (more…)