(An Appropriate Distance)


By Piri Halasz


Report from the Front

A newsletter of art criticism, art comment & occasional political comment. Estab. 1996. Published in hard copy 5-7 times a year. (For new shows, see "events;" for hard-copy rates, see "works.")


April 14, 2014

Tags: Jean Fautrier, Zhu Jinshi, Scott Williams, Chuck Thomas, Peter Reginato, Anthony Caro

Peter Reginato. WTF. 2011. Stainless steel and enamel, 47 x 48 x 35 in. Photo courtesy the artist.
In my last posting, I mentioned that Jean Fautrier was in “Thick Paint,” a three-man show uptown. Never having seen Fautrier’s work first-hand, I got there—as well as to two other galleries, with work by Scott Williams, Chuck Thomas, and Peter Reginato. Finally,capsule coverage of three monster shows staged in the first week of March. (more…)


April 7, 2014

Tags: Alexander Iolas, Les Lalanne, Jules Olitski

Jules Olitski, Escorial Mystery, 1991. Acrylic on canvas, 68 1/2 x 60 inches (174 x 152 cm), (c)Estate of Jules Olitski/Licensed by VAGA, New York NY.
At Paul Kasmin in Chelsea, two shows are blooming. The first, at 293 Tenth Avenue, is “Alexander the Great: The Iolas Gallery 1955-1987,” and the second, at 515 West 27th Street, is “Jules Olitski: Mitt Paintings” (both through April 19). There’s a connection between the two, though at first it may be hard to fathom, given the apparent differences between the two. (more…)


April 1, 2014

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler, Dan Christensen, Kenneth Noland

Dan Christensen (1942-2007). "O," 1968. Acrylic on canvas, 108 x 144 inches. Photo courtesy Spanierman Modern.
Spring may be late this year, but indoors in Manhattan, modernism is blossoming. Besides the recent shows of Poons and Bannard, we now have those of Helen Frankenthaler, Dan Christensen, & Kenneth Noland. The show of Jules Olitski at Paul Kasmin piggy-backs on another Kasmin show, so I’ll discuss it in a separate posting. (more…)


March 23, 2014

Tags: Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems. Untitled (Woman and daughter with makeup) (from Kitchen Table Series), 1990. Gelatin silver print, 27 1/4 x 27 1/4 inches (69.2 x 69.2 cm). Collection of Eric and Liz Lefkofsky, promised gift to The Art Institute of Chicago. © Carrie Mae Weems. Photo: © The Art Institute of Chicago.

Upon the basis of my experience of the photographs of LaToya Ruby Frazier at the Brooklyn Museum last June, I was looking forward to “Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through May 14).

After all, Frazier had studied with Weems, and (more…)


March 16, 2014

Tags: Edward Steichen

Edward Steichen, Paul Robeson (as Brutus Jones, in The Emperor Jones, for Vanity Fair), 1933. Gelatin silver print, mounted on board, 9 15/16 x 8 in. (25.2 x 20.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art; gift of Richard & Jackie Hollander in memory of Ellyn Hollander, 2012.240.
Continuing my tour of photography exhibitions this season, I next took in a show of work by Edward Steichen (1879-1973). Born the same year that Charles Marville died, Steichen practiced his peacetime calling in three phases, each phase directed toward progressively wider audiences.

Steichen was a native of the tiny European duchy of Luxembourg; he came to (more…)


March 10, 2014

Tags: Charles Marville

Charles Marville, Lamppost, Entrance to the École des Beaux-Arts, ca. 1870. Albumen silver print from glass negative. Collection W. Bruce and Delaney H. Lundberg
I often wonder why I am so much drawn to photography these days. I guess it is because I do like representation, and I see so little contemporary painted representation that has the freshness of the best photography—though what I consider fresh & the best photography might strike the average contemporary camera buff as laughably quaint.

For instance, I liked (more…)


March 2, 2014

Tags: Darby Bannard

Walter Darby Bannard. Dragon Water, 1977. Acrylic on c on canvas, 65 x 65 in. (165.1 x 165.1 cm.). Photo courtesy Berry Campbell, New York NY
Walter Darby Bannard is a hedonist, and proud of it. He believes that the role of art is to give pleasure. It’s not meant to be an intellectual exercise, or political propaganda, or even an illustration of something that it’s not (though he has plenty of room in his lexicon for representational painters, past and present, whose work pleasures the eye, regardless of what else it may or may not do). (more…)


February 20, 2014

Tags: Emil Nolde

Emil Nolde. Phantasie (Drei Köpfe) (Imagination (Three Heads)), 1931-35. Watercolor, graphite and ink on Japan paper, 16.14 x 12.01 inches (41 x 30.5 cm). ENo 106. Courtesy of Van Doren Waxter and Beck & Eggeling
This bloody winter has gotten everybody down. I am so sick of snow I could scream, and, because I can't be sure of my footing in all the ice and slush, I've gotten out to only a few shows. However, one was “Emil Nolde: Expressions in Watercolor” (through February 28). And I don't regret that. (more…)


February 8, 2014

Tags: David Smith, Hofmann, Larry Poons, Ed Clark

Ed Clark, "Untitled," 2004. Acrylic on canvas, 77 x 51 1/4 inches. EC 110. Photo Courtesy the Artist and Tilton Gallery, NY.
Having been busy with domestic activities, I’ve let 4 worthy shows go until they were over, or nearly over. Now I must catch up. The 4 I’ll discuss are “David Smith: The Forgings” at Gagosian (Madison Avenue) (closed January 11); “Hans Hofmann” at Ameringer McEnery Yohe (closed January 25); “Larry Poons: New Paintings” at Danese Corey (closing February 8) and “Ed Clark: Big Bang” at Jack Tilton, now at 8 East 76th Street (through February 22). (more…)


February 1, 2014

Tags: Piero della Francesca, Antonio Canova

Antonio Canova (Italian, Possagno 1757–1822 Venice) The Creation of the World 1821–22 Plaster Gipsoteca, Possagno (Inv. 292)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art currently has two truly rewarding boutique shows. One is “Piero della Francesca: Personal Encounters” (through March 30) and the other is “Antonio Canova: The Seven Last Works” (through April 27). Piero is the greater artist; Canova’s exhibition is the more comprehensive display of his art. (more…)

Selected Works

A journalist tells how she developed a radical theory of abstract painting through varied experience.
The go-go mini-guide telling where ‘60s swingers hung out, and how they went about swinging.

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