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."

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: THESIS

July 10, 2018

Tags: Gene Davis, Glen Ligon

Gene Davis (American, 1920-1985) . Trafalgar, 1984 acrylic on canvas 95 1/2 x 119 3/4 in.
GENE DAVIS (American, 1920-1985)

Lindsay, there appears to have been a slightly screwy exchange of emails earlier in the week. I am still trying to figure out what happened, and believe me, when I do, you will be high on the list of those I notify! In the meantime, all I can do is (more…)

THOMAS DOWNING AT YARES...WHAT A BEAUTIFL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD....

July 9, 2018

Tags: Thomas Downing

Thomas Downing, Untitled, 1959, Acrylic on canvas, 77 5/8 x 92 inches (197.2 x 233.7cm).
Sorry folks, but Halasz’s lunch break seems to have gone on rather longer than originally intended….She is reporting back for duty on Thursday, July 19 and her remarks follow .

On July 1, at 2 am, I managed to hit my head so hard that it took 14 (or was it 16?) staples to close the scalp wound I’d incurred. Physically I seem to be recuperating nicely, but getting my head back together again in a figurative sense is proving harder. I do hope I am now up to giving you a report on “Thomas Downing: Spot On” at Yares Art at 745 Fifth Avenue (through August 6). This report will consist of (more…)

A MESSAGE TO BENJAMIN

June 26, 2018

Tags: Carolyn Maloney, Suraj Patel, Winston Churchill

Oh say can you see....
Monday evening, 6/25/18

First, among the small but loyal band of people who subscribe to the print edition of (An Appropriate Distance) From the Mayor’s Doorstep are – gasp, yes, a few Republicans.

And, because its subject is primarily art, I normally try to avoid discussing my admittedly Democratic preferences in it.

I feel that art and politics are like apples and oranges, irrelevant to one another.

Though I know that many great artists have used their art to make political statements, it is because of the quality of their art as art which has made those works survive. Whatever political situations they may have been concerned with, as time passes are forgotten, so irrelevant that it becomes necessary to explain them in museum labels.

That said, on this occasion, I am going to discuss my preference in the Democratic primaries being held today, June 26, in New York State’s 12th Congressional District. This is where I live, and it is a heavily blue district in a heavily blue state. Thus whoever wins the primary is more or less assured of election in November. (more…)

NATHANSON AT BERRY-CAMPBELL: GOSSAMER RADIANCE

June 8, 2018

Tags: Jill Nathanson

Jill Nathanson, Cadence, 2017. Acrylic and polymers with oil on panel, 55 x 72 inches. Courtesy Berry-Campbell.
At Berry Campbell in Chelsea, we have “Jill Nathanson: Cadence” (through June 30). This lovely show, of 17 shimmering veils of color, picks up where the artist’s notable last show left off, and carries the unique presence she has established on to new triumphs. (more…)

ZAMBON AT FIGUREWORKS: FANCIFULLY FIGURATIVE

May 31, 2018

Tags: Fulvia Zambon

Fulvia Zambon, "Muffin Lost Her Home," 2018. Oil on linen, 36” x 44.” Courtesy Figureworks.
Readers of this column with the stamina to read all the way through my reviews of Sideshow’s annual “Nation” shows may know I have long admired the academically flawless but highly imaginative paintings of Fulvia Zambon. At last, she has a fascinating show of her own at Figureworks in Williamsburg, “Fulvia Zambon: My Encounter with Momoi,” but you must rush to see it, as it closes this Sunday, June 3 and the gallery is only open Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 6. (more…)

RUN, DO NOT WALK TO “GOLDEN KINGDOMS” AT THE MET

May 24, 2018

MASK. Turquoise, wood, mother-of-pearl, shell (Spondylus princeps, Spondylus calcifer). Probably Mixtec (Ñudzavui), A.D. 1200–1521. Mexico MiBACT Museo delle Civiltà - Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico. “L. Pigorini” Image © Museo delle Civiltà - Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico L. Pigorini, su concessione del MiBACT, Photo Archive scans (Mario Mineo).
I’m afraid I’m just not like other people. For most, the mention of “gold” in an exhibition’s title sends them en masse to see it. But for me, the medium is not the message, so I put off until the last minute seeing “Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. BIG mistake – as it only runs until May 28 now, and it’s terrific! So by all means, run do not walk to see it. (more…)

TWO ART FAIRS: THE ARMORY SHOW & TEFAF NEW YORK

May 22, 2018

Paul Kasmin booth at "Tefaf New York Spring 2018". Photo by Mark Niedermann
Art fairs frustrate me, because I primarily want to send readers to see the art I'm writing about (as Clement Greenberg said, "All a critic can really do is point," or words to that effect). An art fair is over long before my report goes online. Still as "news," the art fairs are not without merit, so here are belated reports on two this season. One is “The Armory Show,” held as usual on Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River from March 8 to 11. The other is "Tefaf New York Spring 2018," which was held for only the second time at the Park Avenue Armory this year from May 2 to 6. (more…)

RECOMMENDED: EARLY BOXER, RECENT LITTLE

May 11, 2018

Tags: Stanley Boxer, James Little

James Little, "Near There," 2017. Raw pigment on canvas, 33.5 x 41.50 inches. Courtesy of the artist and the June Kelly Gallery, New York
Two current shows of abstract painting that I can most heartily recommend are “Stanley Boxer: Gradations” at Berry Campbell in Chelsea (through May 19) and “James Little: Slants and White Paintings” at June Kelly in SoHo (through May 15). Little’s show is of new work, while Boxer’s is from earlier in his career, but both are full of surprises. (more…)