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."


May 26, 2013

Tags: Claes Oldenburg, Henri Labrouste, Bill Brandt

Henri Labrouste (French, 1801-1875). Imaginary reconstruction of an ancient city. Perspective view. Date unknown. Graphite, pen, ink and watercolor on paper. Académie d'Architecture, Paris.
I’ve been neglecting the Museum of Modern Art this winter. It took me so long to review its “Inventing Abstraction” that I didn’t even get around to it until the show was practically ready to close, but, by way of compensation, I hustled to get to three of the museum’s spring offerings. (more…)


May 19, 2013

Tags: Masson, Miró, Dalí, Ernst, Leonora Carrington, Gerome Kamrowski

Max Ernst (1891-1976). Le start du châtaigner (The Start of the Chestnut Tree), 1925. Frottage with graphite pencil, and gouache. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Gift of Walter Feilchenfeldt in honor of Eugene and Clare Thaw, 2011.28 (c) 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP Paris. Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2012.
Occasionally, a show is mounted that neither stirs me personally nor makes me feel that most of my readers would want to see it, but that I still feel deserves a review (even if I am not the right person to write it). Why? Because so much time & effort & maybe even love have gone into its creation, and because (more…)


May 12, 2013

Tags: Manet, Monet, Bazille, James Tissot, Fantin-Latour, Cassatt, Cézanne, Courbet, Caillebotte, Degas, Whistler

Jean-Frédéric Bazille (French, 1841-1870). Family Reunion. 1867. Oil on canvas, 58 7/8 x 90 9/16 inches (152 x 230 cm). Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Acquired with the participation of Marc Bazille, brother of the artist, 1905.
Here is a show that I am the wrong critic for. It is “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through May 27). This show, which purports to offer “a revealing look at the role of fashion in the works of the Impressionists and their contemporaries,” includes some 80 major figure paintings, together (more…)


May 6, 2013

Tags: Perle Fine, Friedel Dzubas, Larry Poons, James Walsh

James Walsh. Clicks, 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 35 3/4 x 25 5/8 inches. Courtesy Spanierman Modern
Spanierman LLC and its sister gallery, Spanierman Modern, are (through June 8) displaying three exhibitions of abstract painting that might be said to constitute one show of three generations. The first show celebrates Perle Fine, an artist associated with the first generation of abstract expressionists; they mostly came to their (more…)