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."

FMD IS ON VACATION

August 19, 2017

Will be returning mid-September. PH

FUN & WORTHINESS AT THE MORGAN

August 12, 2017

Tags: John Singer Sargent, Whistler, Frank Duveneck, John La Farge

Head of a Markhor Goat, Mesopotamia, Sumerian, Early Dynastic III, ca. 2550-2250 B.C. Copper alloy, shell, and red stone. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia; 29-20-3.
The Morgan Library and Museum has at least two shows this summer of interest to the art world. The largest, worthy one is “Henry James and American Painting” (through September 10). The smallest, fun one is “Noah’s Beasts: Sculpted Animals from Ancient Mesopotamia” (through August 27). (more…)

SUMMERTIME IN THE GALLERIES

August 1, 2017

Tags: Peter Joseph

Charlotte Park (1918-2010), Untitled (Black and White), ca. 1950. Oil and gouache on paper mounted on canvas, 14 7/8 x 18 in. Courtesy Berry Campbell.
Summertime, and the galleries (both commercial & non-profit) opt for group exhibitions, of which I have seen three that I liked: at Loretta Howard, Berry Campbell & The New York Studio School of Drawing Painting & Sculpture…while patrolling Chelsea I also happened upon a solo exhibition that I sort of liked, that of a British artist named Peter Joseph. (more…)

SUMMERTIME AT THE GUGGENHEIM

July 19, 2017

Tags: Ferdinand Hodler, Fernand Khnopff, Kandinsky, Brancusi

Installation View: Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris,1892–1897. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 30–October 4, 2017. Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2017.
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…for museums sometimes, too. They can economize with shows that blasé New Yorkers might turn up their noses at – since tourists are the principal visitors at almost any Manhattan museum in July & August…..and sometimes these summer shows are worth seeing, too, even for New Yorkers—as is the case with a trio of exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum…. (more…)

THE ONE, THE ONLY FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT AT MOMA

July 3, 2017

Tags: Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867–1959). Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. 1913–23. Cross section looking east. Ink, pencil, and colored pencil on drafting cloth, 15 x 40 in. (38.1 x 101.6 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York). © 2017 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ. All rights reserved.
No question about it: Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was – and is – America’s greatest architect. Less well known are the superb drawings on which his greatest works – both built and only conceived of – are based. All of which gives us two major reasons to visit the richly rewarding (if imperfect) exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, entitled “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive” (through October 1). (more…)

MONUMENTAL, MAGNIFICENT "AGE OF EMPIRES" AT THE MET

June 24, 2017

Rhinoceros. Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 9), 2nd century B.C. Gilt bronze, rhinoceros 7¾ x 3¼ x 3⅞ in. (19.8 x 8.4 x 9.8 cm). Excavated in 2010, tomb no. 1 (Liu Fei, prince of Jiangdu, d. 129 B.C.), Dayunshan, Xuyi, Jiangsu Province. Nanjing Museum. Photo: Courtesy Nanjing Museum.
Anybody who knows anything about me knows that I’m passionate about the Han Dynasty, so it goes almost without saying that I am delighted with the latest show of it at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, entitled “Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 BC – A. D. 220)” (through July 16). (more…)

EMOTION AMID TRANQUILITY: GREECE ON FIFTH AVENUE

June 14, 2017

Installation view of "A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD" at the Onassis Cultural Center New York. Photo by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Recently, the New York Times ran a long article in its Sunday Style section on how anxiety is so widespread these days that it’s a social phenomenon as opposed to a merely psychological one. But you’d never guess it from the wonderful tranquility that reigns at the Onassis Cultural Center, despite the fact that its current show is titled, “A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD” (through June 24). (more…)

THE MARCH ART FAIRS (BELATEDLY)

June 10, 2017

Tags: Helen Frankenthler

Helen Frankenthaler, Summer Insignia, 1969. Acrylic on canvas, 95 x 85.25 in. Courtesy Leslie Feely.
On the first weekend in March every year, this town goes wild with art fairs. But they are over so soon that my readers can't see what I would have been talking about, had I rushed to review them. So I take my time -- nor do I feel a compulsion to review other art fairs since (Frieze, for example). My philosophy is that most art fairs are similar -- with some exceptions, which are as easy to spot in New York in March as they would be in Miami in December or at Basel in June. (more…)

MOMA, TNC & MATISSE GOING VIRAL IN MONTCLAIR

June 5, 2017

Tags: Francis Picabia, Cara London, Matisse

"Matisse and American Art" (left to right: Frankenthaler, Matisse, Rothko). Photo by Peter Jacobs/Courtesy of Montclair Art Museum
Once again, you catch me in my Goldilocks mode: I recently had three differently-sized (and differently oriented) art experiences. The biggest (and least attractive) was a trip to MoMA; the smallest (and considerably more attractive) took place in an East Village theater; and the middle-sized (altogether excellent) involves the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey. (more…)

THE WHITNEY BIENNIAL: TWO GOOD PLUS TWO HALF GOOD ARTISTS

June 1, 2017

Tags: Carrie Moyer, Shara Hughes, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Aliza Nisenbaum

Aliza Nisenbaum (b. 1977), La Talaverita, Sunday Morning NY Times, 2016. Oil on linen, 68 x 88 in. (172.7 x 223.5 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy T293 Gallery, Rome and Mary Mary, Glasgow.
Over the years, I have learned the hard way not to expect too much from the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art (which will be with us until June 11). Nor have my expectations ever been far wide of the mark. This time around, though, things were slightly different... (more…)