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."

FOUR PHOTO SHOWS

January 27, 2013

Tags: Allen Ginsberg, Eugene Hyon, Chim, Roman Vishniac

Eugene Hyon. "Shadow Stairs," (c) 2012. Black-and-white film-based photograph, 20 x 16. Courtesy the artist.
I was surprised when Francine Tint recommended “Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg,” at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery (through April 6). After all, she’s an abstract painter, and normally recommends shows of painting (or sculpture). This was the first time I can recall her recommending a photography exhibition, and I resisted at first, (more…)

NARCISSUS ON 53RD STREET

January 19, 2013

Tags: Yokoo Tadanori, Okamoto Taro

Yokoo Tadanori (Japanese, born 1936). Diary of a Shinjuku Thief (Sozosha)(Shinjuku dorobo nikki [Sozosha]). 1968. Screenprint. 39 1/4 x 28" (99.7 x 71.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the designer. (c) 2012 Yokoo Tadanori.
According to Greek mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful youth who fell in love with his own reflection, staring up at him from a pool of water. I always thought that he leaned so far over to admire it that he fell in and drowned. Wikipedia won’t confirm this recollection, but it (more…)

SMALLER BUT MORE PERFECT

January 12, 2013

Maiden Mask (Agbogho mmuo). Unidentified Igbo artist; Nigeria. Before 1922. Wood, pigment. H. 17 1/2 in. (44.4 cm). The University of Pennsylvania Museum (AF 5371). Courtesy of the Penn Museum, image #150519.
To get to the Matisse show, you will probably pass through the galleries displaying the Met’s handsome permanent collection of sub-Saharan African art. In the middle of it is a small space used for special exhibitions. Here appears a much more modest & less ambitious show than the Matisse, but in some ways, a more perfect one. It is (more…)

CAN ONE RUIN MATISSE?

January 5, 2013

Tags: Matisse

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954). Notre-Dame. 1914. Oil on canvas, 58 x 37 1/8 in. (147.3 x 94.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest, and the Henry Ittleson, A. Conger Goodyear, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sinclair Funds, and the Anna Erickson Levene Bequest given in memory of her husband, Dr. Phoebus Aaron Theodor Levene, 1975. (c)2012 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Another show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, even more worthy of visiting than that of George Bellows, gives us a master beloved by modernists for his sheer mastery of the art of painting, and for the enormous pleasure he has already given so many of them over the years. He is also popular with postmodernists because he is figurative enough to enjoy crowd appeal (more…)