(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.")


September 13, 2014

Tags: Pollock, William Glackens

William Glackens (American, 1870-1938). Far from the Fresh Air Farm: The Crowded City Street, with its Dangers and Temptations, Is a Pitiful Makeshift Playground for Children. 1911. Crayon heightened with watercolor on paper, 24 12/ x 16 1/2 inches. Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Bequest of Ira Glackens, 91.41.152
I didn’t get to the Hamptons until August this year, but that was all to the good, as three stellar exhibitions had only recently opened—and will be up into October. One’s on three dealers who represented Jackson Pollock in the 40s and 50s, one’s on that stalwart impressionist of “The 8,” William Glackens, and one displays early work by Robert Motherwell. In this posting, I’ll deal with the first two: all three are equally worthy, but I just don’t have time to write about all of them at present.


The show that chronicles Pollock’s three major dealers is, not surprisingly, at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, in The Springs of East Hampton. It’s titled “Pollock’s Champions,” and was organized by Bobbi Coller, PhD, guest curator (through October 31). As Coller observes, in her introductory wall text, “An artist’s relationship with his or her dealer is an unusual and complex partnership,” and certainly “much more than a business agreement.” (more…)


August 30, 2014

Tags: Cézanne

Paul Cézanne, Pitcher and Plate with Pears (Pichet et assiette de poires), 1895–98, oil on canvas, 19 5⁄16 × 23 3⁄16 in. (49 × 59 cm), Private Collection (Courtesy Nancy Whyte Fine Arts, Inc).
You would think that, with 69 Cézannes in its permanent collection, the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia might feel it had enough Cézanne, but no—it seems to feel that it can never get enough.

Since I feel the same way, I beat feet to Philadelphia to see the Barnes’s latest special exhibition, (more…)


August 23, 2014

Tags: J. M. W. Turner, Thomas Girtin, Master of Claude de France, William Perehudoff

William Perehudoff (1918 - 2013), AC-85-015, 1985, acrylic on canvas, 42 x 82 inches. Courtesy Berry Campbell Gallery, New York.
Pomonians tend to have short artistic memories. Or so, at least, is the conclusion I've come to from seeing how august museums like the Met, the Frick and the Morgan seem to feel that to attract younger museum-goers, they must augment their invaluable holdings in older art with all the latest buzz (no matter how feeble). Modernists, on the other hand, (more…)


August 16, 2014

Tags: Giacomo Balla, Carlo Carrá, Luigi Rossolo, Gino Severini, Umberto Boccioni

Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio), 1913 (cast 1949). Bronze, 121.3 x 88.9 x 40 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of Lydia Winston Malbin, 1989 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image Source: Art Resource, New York
Way back in February, I went to the media preview of “Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through September 1).

This is the kind of show that I normally applaud: a lavish, clearly expensive, multimedia extravaganza of a major modern movement, with more than 360 works by more than 80 artists, architects, designers, photographers, and writers, borrowed from all over the civilized world. (more…)


August 12, 2014

Tags: Edward Avedisian, Paul Feeley, Helen Frankenthaler, David Smith

Edward Avedisian, Normal Love #1, 1963. Liquitex on canvas, 67 1/4 x 67 1/2 inches. Courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York.
There was a time when the Manhattan art world was much smaller, and one movement could sweep across a large segment of it (though never commanding its entirety).

An example of this was the switch from painterly abstract expressionism to what Clement Greenberg called “post-painterly abstraction.” Though it received only a fraction of the publicity accorded pop, it was the guiding principle in (more…)


August 2, 2014

Tags: James Wolfe

James Wolfe. "Leaphorn," 2014. Powder Coated Steel, 22 x 28 x 18 inches. Courtesy the artist.
As I said in my last post, I remember James Wolfe (b. 1944) from the late 80s, when his sculptures were exhibited at André Emmerich. In 1990, when I was preparing to go out to teach at Bethany College in West Virginia, George Hofmann sent me a copy of Sculpture magazine with an article in it (more…)


July 30, 2014

"Stephen Dean: Jugglers" at Ameringer McEnery Yohe, 5 June - August 1, 2014.
First, I must make a correction before I launch into my latest discussion of shows I’ve seen. The correction concerns the phrase “zombie formalism.” From two references in the NY Times, I mistakenly assumed in the last print edition issue of FMD that this was a coinage of its senior critic, Roberta Smith, (more…)


July 13, 2014

Tags: Jean Dubuffet, Miquel Barceló, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Théodore Géricault

Théodore Géricault. Three Stabled Horses Feeding, ca. 1822-23. Watercolor over graphite, 8 3/8 x 14 1/4 inches. Courtesy Jill Newhouse Gallery.
Another promenade on the Upper East Side yields me two more shows moderately worthy of a visit, and one real do-not-miss. The first two are at Acquavella and The Met, the third at Jill Newhouse, at 4 East 81st Street conveniently located just between the other two.


July 6, 2014

Tags: Clodion, Houdon

Buddha in Meditation. Southern Thailand, late 6th–mid- 7th century. First recorded at Wat Phra Boromahathat temple, Chaiya District, Surat Thani province, Thailand. Transferred to Chaiya National Museum. Year unknown. Sandstone 41 5/16 × 23 1/4 × 14 15/16 in. (105 × 59 × 38 cm) Lent by Musée National des Arts Asiatiques–Guimet, Paris (MG18891)
Three current sculpture shows have attracted my attention this summer: one at the Met, one at the Frick, and one at Freedman Art. By coincidence, they’re all on the Upper East Side, so I was able to take them in during one long day. Dealing with them in reverse chronological order, I shall offer the most recent first, the next most recent second, and the most ancient, third. (more…)


June 28, 2014

FMD is primarily about art, but every once in a long while I have something to say about politics. At the moment, the midterm elections in November 2014 occupy my mind—not every minute, but often enough so that I sometimes have trouble sleeping. In part, that’s because I read or at least browse (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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