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."


January 31, 2012

Tags: Emanuel Leutze, Asher B. Durand, Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera. Indian Warrior. 1931. Fresco on reinforced cement in a metal framework, 41 x 52 1/2" (104.14 x 133.35 cm). Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton Massachusetts. Purchased with the Winthrop Hillyer Fund Sc 1934:8-1. (c)2011 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York

American art history is such a cozy corner of the discipline. Few scholars paid much attention to it prior to the 1960s, which may help to explain why I knew next to nothing about it when I entered grad school in 1974. In grad school, I learned quite a lot about it, thanks to a couple of excellent courses taught by Barbara Novak, but I also learned that an awful lot of (more…)


January 21, 2012

Once again, it’s time for the super-group show at Sideshow, this year titled “MIC:CHECK (occupy)” (through February 26). Proprietor Richard Timperio explains that the title refers to the “human microphones” that the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators used to get the word out, when they were forbidden to use regular mikes. Timperio is nothing if not an anarchist, and the 489 artists (more…)


January 3, 2012

Tags: Frank Wimberley

Frank Wimberley (b. 1926). Bayou. 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 50 in. Collection of Spanierman Modern, New York
Sometimes, it seems, all that an artist really needs is the right gallery. So I conclude, anyway, from Frank Wimberley,” at Spanierman Modern, a vigorous and not-easily-forgotten exhibition of 19 abstract expressionist paintings, brilliantly organized by Alice Hammond (through January 14).

I say, “not easily forgotten” because when I saw (more…)


January 1, 2012

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler

As most of the world knows by now, Helen Frankenthaler died on December 27. I will miss her, and I'm sure many others will, too. David Cohen has been kind enough to publish my formal tribute to her in his webzine, A few more informal & personal reminiscences follow below. (more…)


January 1, 2012

Tags: Sherrie Levine, Carsten Höller

Sherrie Levine. Fountain (Madonna), 1991. Cast bronze. 14 1/2 x 14 x 26 in. (36.8 x 35.6 x 66 cm). Private collection. Image courtesy Simon Lee Gallery, London, and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (c) Sherrie Levine

Maurizio Cattelan’s waxworks are not the only show in a Manhattan museum to dress up a fundamentally silly idea with rafts of bureaucratic stuffing & mountains of portentous Artspeak. Two other museums are also weighing in (if that’s the word I want) with undertakings that are even more outspokenly dedicated to the Duchampian notion that anything can be art if the artist says it is. (more…)