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."

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…)

CARO—EARLY & LATE AT MITCHELL-INNES

January 8, 2017

Tags: Anthony Caro

ANTHONY CARO. first drawings last sculptures. Installation view at Mitchell Innes & Nash, 2016. Photo: Adam Reich.
For their first exhibition of Sir Anthony Caro since his death in October 2013, his longtime New York gallery, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, has chosen to focus not just on his last work, but on the remarkable consistency that unites this last work with some of his earliest (through February 4). (more…)

Mexican Modernism & Populism: "Paint the Revolution" at the Philadelphia Museum

December 29, 2016

Tags: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo

Diego Rivera, Dance in Tehuantepec, 1928. Oil on canvas, 6 feet 6-3/8 inches x 63-3/4 inches (199 x 162 cm). Private Collection. © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Folks, if you want a grand way to spend New Year’s, may I recommend you go to see “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This gargantuan exhibition of hundreds of easel paintings, watercolors, murals, photographs, and graphics grandly demonstrates how a radical, though not highly-industrialized, society in the first half of the 20th century managed to unite two movements often seen as antitheses—modernism and populism. The museum is open on New Year’s Day, and this show will end its run there on January 8 (you can still see it from February to April at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City).. (more…)

A BOOK! A BOOK!

December 17, 2016

Tags: Peter Hide

It is my pleasure to report on the publication of a 178-page book, Peter Hide: A Sculptor’s Life, new from Hagios Press, an independent publisher in Regina, Saskatchewan that has also published work by Terry Fenton. As I contributed an essay to this book, and helped to edit several others, I can’t very well review it. I shall merely tell my readers that (more…)

RENAISSANCE & REFORMATION: MEMLING, LUTHER (AND CRANACH) AT THE MORGAN

December 10, 2016

Conrad Meit, Adam and Eve statues, Wittenberg, ca. 1510. Foundation Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha.
Two of the most momentous developments in modern European history occurred less than a century apart. The 15th century saw the efflorescence of the Renaissance, in Italy and Northern Europe, especially the Low Countries—while Northern Europe, especially Germany, Switzerland and England experienced the profound upheaval of the Protestant Reformation in the early 16th century. Currently, The Morgan Library & Museum is hosting two excellent exhibitions, one for each of these two momentous moments—and both with Teutonic pedigrees. Whether we’re talking about Hans Memling or Lucas Cranach the Elder & Martin Luther, we’re talking about figures born in what is today Germany. (more…)

A STUDY IN CONTRASTS: CHAOS & VOYEURISM

December 2, 2016

Group of Celadon Figurines. Three Kingdoms period, Wu kingdom (222–280). Glazed porcelain; various dimensions, from 5 3/8 to 7 5/8 in. Unearthed in 2006 from the Wu tomb at Shangfang in Jiangning, Jiangsu. Collection of the Nanjing Municipal Museum.
Two venerable uptown venues have recently moved downtown (which seems to be the “happening” neighborhood in Manhattan today). At the China Institute Gallery, we have very ancient art, while at the International Center of Photography Museum, we have very contemporary. And in other respects, my visits to these two institutions offered contrasts, too.

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EYE-CATCHING NEW SHOW PLACE: YARES ART ARRIVES

November 19, 2016

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Larry Poons, Jules Olitski

Larry Poons, English Fields, 1968. Acrylic on canvas, 110 x 87 inches. Courtesy Yares Art
I’ve long admired the booths of Yares Art Projects of Santa Fe at The Art Show in the Park Avenue Armory, so when I received the announcement for a new gallery entitled Yares Art at 745 Fifth Avenue I beat feet to get there on opening night. The inaugural show was elegantly installed in a spacious portion of the former quarters of McKee, and titled “Helen Frankenthaler + L, M, N, O, P—Louis, Motherwell, Noland, Olitski, Poons.” Its emphasis is on color-field paintings from the 1950s and the 1960s, though with some later work, and on the whole, it is a knockout (through January 15). (more…)