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."

JOY WITH LIPSKY AT GERALD PETERS

April 19, 2017

Tags: Pat Lipsky

Pat Lipsky, Springs Fireplace, 1969. Acrylic on canvas, 62 3/8 x 94 ½ inches. Courtesy Gerald Peters Gallery.
Picture this: a very young Pat Lipsky, only recently out of Hunter College’s MFA program, painting up a storm in an era when a youthful color-field painter with a clear, true color sense & a genuine pedigree in Frankenthaler & Noland could still turn out big, lush, truly lovely pictures, and win shows of them at a prestigious 57th Street gallery, plus a rave review in the New York Times! (more…)

BEARDEN’S BAYOU AT DC MOORE

April 14, 2017

Tags: Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden. Bayou Fever, The Conjur Woman, 1979. Collage and acrylic on fiberboard, 6 x 9 in. © Estate of Romare Bearden. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.
It’s been a while (like 50 years) since I published anything about Romare Bearden (1911-1988), and even longer since I attended a performance at an art gallery (like maybe never). Therefore, when I got an email from DC Moore, inviting me to the performance of a dance on March 24 (or 25), inspired by a series of 21 collages that the celebrated African-American artist had created in 1979, I decided to go for it, taking in both exhibition & dance together. The art show is “Romare Bearden: Bayou Fever and Related Works” (through April 29). The dance – and its inspiration, the 21 small- to medium-sized collages that constitute its “story-board” – are called, “Bayou Fever.” (more…)

“WORLD WAR I AND AMERICAN ART” AT PAFA (AND ELSWHERE)

April 6, 2017

Tags: John Singer Sargent, Boardman Robinson

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) Gassed, 1919 Oil on canvas, 90 ½ × 240 in. Fr.: 107 x 256 x 5 ½ in. Imperial War Museums, London, England
I feel horribly guilty about being so slow to review this winter’s mammoth, handsome, moving and now appallingly timely exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Entitled “World War I and American Art,” it opened at the beginning of November 2016, and I attended its media preview. In fact, I took so long examining it that I was the last critic to leave.

Now it will only be at PAFA (more…)

MINKIN & PIERMARINI, TWO MOFFETTEERS AT SIDESHOW

March 25, 2017

Tags: Marjorie Minkin, Bruce Piermarini

Marjorie Minkin, "Broken Promises" (2017). Acrylic on canvas, 62 x 46 inches. Courtesy Sideshow Gallery.
What will become of those painters assembled by the late, great Kenworth Moffett under the rubric “New New Painters”? One answer may be seen at Sideshow in Williamsburg, with "Marjorie Minkin & Bruce Piermarini, Pour: Rush Rest Release" (through April 2). Short form: both painters are former members of Moffett's group, and New Englanders who rely heavily on pouring, but one uses it to further explore the possibilities most praised by Moffett, while the other is engaged in what the French call reculer pour mieux sauter, which (loosely translated) means “falling back in order to get a running start and make a bigger jump ahead.” (more…)

FAREWELL, HOWARD SCOTT & HELLO, ATTA KWAMI

March 18, 2017

Tags: Atta Kwami

Atta Kwami, "Thami Mnyele II," 2016. Courtesy Howard Scott Gallery
Although I didn’t review every show that Howard Scott staged in his eponymous Chelsea gallery, I did stop by to look at the work he displayed more often. Scott’s taste was usually purer and more minimal than mine, but the gallery as a whole was a class act. This was particularly true with its final presentation—a show called: “Thami,” featuring the powerfully colorful geometric abstractions of a Ghanaian artist named Atta Kwami (closed March 18). (more…)

ON THE BEATEN (CHELSEA) PATH: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE BEAUTFUL

March 9, 2017

Tags: Marilyn Kirsch, Katharina Grosse, Dan Christensen

Dan Christensen, Laredo, 2001. Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 70 inches. Courtesy Berry Campbell.
Sorry, folks, I am still behind schedule, so two of the four shows I took in during a recent visit to Chelsea have already gone down, and the other two will go down this coming weekend. However, as a group they offer insights into the range of what’s offered in Chelsea – which (to borrow a title from an old movie about porn & politics) encompasses everything from the good (at Paul Kasmin & The Painting Center) to the bad (at Gagosian) to the beautiful (at Berry Campbell). (more…)

OFF THE BEATEN (CHELSEA) PATH

February 25, 2017

Tags: Jules Olitski, Kenneth Noland, Eric Girault, Willard Boepple

Willard Boeopple exhibition at FXFowle Architects (photo courtesy the artist)
If you don’t insist on obsessing about the newest fads in Chelsea, two recent and two current shows elsewhere in Manhattan are more worthy of your attention. They are (or were) "Currently on View," at Leslie Feely on East 68th Street (closed February 21); “Kenneth Noland: Into the Cool,” at Pace (& Pace Prints) on East 57th Street (through March 4); “Eric Giraud: Le Rêve Aux Couleur Resilientes” at Wilmer Jennings on East Second Street (closed February 25), and “Willard Boepple Prints: 2 + 3D” at FXFowle Architects on West 19th Street (through March 31). (more…)

BIG TOP EVENT AT WHICH SIDESHOW SHINES: NATION V

February 15, 2017

Tags: Richard Timperio

Once again, Richard Timperio has led us “Thru the Rabbit Hole,” and into the wonderland that is “Sideshow Nation V” at Sideshow in Williamsburg (through February 26). Its mammoth Excel-lent checklist chronicles 519 items contributed by 479 artists, and, as always, much the same consistently high quality is maintained throughout. How does he do it? (more…)

L’ANGLETERRE, I LOVE YOU

February 2, 2017

Tags: Gina Medcalf, Charles Hewlings, John McLean, Damien Hirst, John Hoyland, Jules Olitski, Bruce McLean, Virginia Jaramillo, Frank Bowling, Kevin Sinnott

Thanks to a deeply-discounted plane ticket that I was fortunate enough to obtain, I recently spent a blissful week in what (at this moment) may be my favorite country, England. As I had only three days in London, one in Oxford and one in Worcestershire, I planned my stay in advance detail comparable to limning angels on a pin’s head. To my delight, nearly everything went off like clockwork. (more…)

DUBUFFET & POONS AT LORETTA HOWARD: A MATTER OF MATTER

January 14, 2017

Tags: Jean Dubuffet, Larry Poons

"Jean Dubuffet & Larry Poons: Material Topographies" at Loretta Howard. Photo by John Small, courtesy Loretta Howard Gallery.
Two great exponents of what the French call “matter painting” are currently holding forth in Chelsea. The show is “Jean Dubuffet & Larry Poons: Material Topographies” and it’s at Loretta Howard (through February 18). This show is great fun. (more…)