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."

COMING HOME TO ZAO

September 22, 2016

Tags: Zao Wou-Ki

Zao Wou-Ki, Sans titre (Untitled), 1972 . India ink on paper, 26 3⁄16 × 47 1⁄16 in. (66.5 × 119.5 cm). Private collection, Switzerland. ©Zao Wou-Ki ProLitteris, Zurich. Photography by Antoine Mercier.

Somehow I feel like I’ve always known about Zao Wou-Ki. Perhaps that’s why it was such a pleasure to encounter (or re-encounter) his art in “No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki” at the Asia Society Museum in New York (through January 8) and thereafter at the Colby College Museum of Art in Maine (February 4 through June 4, 2017). (more…)

COMING ATTRACTIONS (INSTALLMENT #3)

September 16, 2016

Thomas Eakins, Amelia Van Buren Sitting With Cat on Shoulder, 1891. Platinum print, 3 1/2 x 4 inches (8.89 x 10.16 cm), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1985.68.2.712.
Herewith my third and last installment of coming attractions for this fall. Like the others, it runs a gamut-- ranging from shows of modernists like Walter Darby Bannard to those of postmodernists like Pipilotti Rist to the "homemade architecture" of Beverly Buchanan to historical figures like sexy Guido Cagnacci of the baroque and Mexican modernism in its glory days of revolution. (more…)

COMING ATTRACTIONS (INSTALLMENT #2)

September 8, 2016

Michiel van Musscher (Dutch, 1645 - 1705), An Artist in His Studio with His Drawings, mid-1660s. Oil on panel, 47 × 36 cm (18 1/2 × 14 3/16 in.). Liechtenstein. The Princely Collections, Vaduz-Vienna.
Herewith Installment #2 of this season's coming attractions, ranging all the way from prewar Vienna to gay 20th-century New York, and with detours to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages to 6th century China. Enjoy! (more…)

COMING ATTRACTIONS (INSTALLMENT #1)

September 1, 2016

Prudence (in situ), Andrea della Robbia (Italian (Florentine), 1435–1525). Ca. 1475. Glazed terracotta. Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1921. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Below you will find capsule entries on a selection of exhibitions to be held (mostly by museums, large and small, and mostly but not exclusively in New York) this autumn. It’s not the best season I’ve seen, but it should be of unusual interest to admirers of superannuated female minimalists and overwrought Italianate baroque painters. (more…)

SUMMER AT THE STUDIO MUSEUM: RICHARD HUNT, ALMA THOMAS, JORDAN CASTEEL

August 26, 2016

Tags: Richard Hunt, Alma Thomas, Jordan Casteel

Installation view: Jordan Casteel at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Photo by Adam Reich.
I don’t why, but I seem to visit the Studio Museum in Harlem in summer more often than at any other season. Last year, it was the excellent show of Stanley Whitney that propelled me northwards. This year, it was Nadine Witkin, daughter of the illustrious Isaac Witkin, who reported on Facebook that (more…)

SUMMER ABSTRACTS: MO & POMO

August 18, 2016

Tags: Joyce Weinstein, Eva Lundsager

Joyce Weinstein, Winter Country Fields and Sky, 2015. Oil and mixed media on linen, 18 x 36 in. (45.7 x 91.4 cm). WEI-00010. Courtesy Berry Campbell, New York.
During the steam heat of a Manhattan August, not much goes on in the art world. But two abstract painters are keeping alive some longstanding contrasts between modernism and postmodernism, in “Joyce Weinstein: Recent Paintings” at Berry Campbell and “Eva Lundsager: Other Night Other Light” at Van Doren Waxter (both shows through August 26). (more…)

THE STEEL BENEATH THE SILK: WATTEAU’S SOLDIERS AT THE FRICK

August 11, 2016

Tags: Watteau

Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721). Three Views of a Soldier, One from Behind, ca. 1713–15. Red chalk, with black ink framing, 6 ¾ × 8 5/8 inches. Musée du Louvre, Paris (RF 51752). Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY
Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) is best known as the painter of mysterious theater folk and ethereal parables of silken dalliance called fêtes galantes. But this exquisite little exhibition of his work at The Frick Collection depicts more warlike subjects – and reveals the steel beneath his silk in more ways than one. (more…)

AN EARLY AMERICAN SWINGER: STUART DAVIS AT THE WHITNEY

August 3, 2016

Tags: Stuart Davis

Stuart Davis (1892-1964), Place Pasdeloup, 1928. Oil on canvas, 36 3/8 x 29 inches (92.4 x 73.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.170 (c) Estate of Stuart Davis/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.
I am probably the wrong person to review “Stuart Davis: In Full Swing” at the Whitney Museum of American Art (through September 25). To be sure, I’d agree with other critics that it’s a cheerful, brightly-colored exhibition of approximately 100 examples of this fine All-American artist’s mature late Synthetic Cubist style. (more…)

“CITY OF THE SOUL” AT THE MORGAN: A NEW KIND OF ROMANCE

July 27, 2016

Tags: Turner, Ingres, Corot, Louis-Jean Desprez, Bartolomeo Pinelli, Rembrandt

Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781-1835), Carnival Scene, 1816. Pen and black ink, and watercolor over graphite. Roberta J. M. Olson and Alexander B.V. Johnson. Photography by Janny Chiu.
You didn’t have to shout to get me to the media preview of “City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics” at the Morgan Library and Museum (through September 11). I adore anything Romantic, but this show wasn’t what I expected—which is not to say that, once I understood how the Morgan defines “Romantic,” I didn’t like it -- a lot. (more…)

MAGYAR TECHNOLOGY: MOHOLY-NAGY AT THE GUGGENHEIM

July 20, 2016

Tags: László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy, A 19, 1927. Oil and graphite on canvas, 80 x 95.5 cm. Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Ann Arbor, MI. © 2016 Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
I wanted to review “Moholy-Nagy: Future Present” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through September 7) because the subject was a Hungarian (I’m half-Hungarian). The Guggenheim clearly wanted the show because the artist was gung-ho for technology, exploring every which way to make art (like all pomonians, it values process over product). We were both wrong. (more…)