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."

“CITY OF THE SOUL” AT THE MORGAN: A NEW KIND OF ROMANCE

July 27, 2016

Tags: Turner, Ingres, Corot, Louis-Jean Desprez, Bartolomeo Pinelli, Rembrandt

Bartolomeo Pinelli (1781-1835), Carnival Scene, 1816. Pen and black ink, and watercolor over graphite. Roberta J. M. Olson and Alexander B.V. Johnson. Photography by Janny Chiu.
You didn’t have to shout to get me to the media preview of “City of the Soul: Rome and the Romantics” at the Morgan Library and Museum (through September 11). I adore anything Romantic, but this show wasn’t what I expected—which is not to say that, once I understood how the Morgan defines “Romantic,” I didn’t like it -- a lot. (more…)

MAGYAR TECHNOLOGY: MOHOLY-NAGY AT THE GUGGENHEIM

July 20, 2016

Tags: László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy, A 19, 1927. Oil and graphite on canvas, 80 x 95.5 cm. Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Ann Arbor, MI. © 2016 Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
I wanted to review “Moholy-Nagy: Future Present” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through September 7) because the subject was a Hungarian (I’m half-Hungarian). The Guggenheim clearly wanted the show because the artist was gung-ho for technology, exploring every which way to make art (like all pomonians, it values process over product). We were both wrong. (more…)

SUMMERTIME IN CHELSEA

July 14, 2016

Tags: Hofmann, Bo Bartlett, Darby Bannard

Walter Darby Bannard, Green Grip #2, 1964-1965. Acrylic on canvas, 66 3/4 x 63 inches. Courtesy Berry Campbell.
Ameringer McEnery Yohe has a small show of 30s and early 40s Hans Hofmann in its back gallery, and a large show of recent work by Bo Bartlett, a 60-year-old allegorical realist, in its front two galleries (both shows through August 12). Berry Campbell is devoting its entire exhibition space to “Summer Selections” (through July 22). All three exhibitions are not without interest—but if I am rushing into print with this review (only a day after my last post), it’s primarily to tell my readers about the Berry Campbell show before it closes. (more…)

“A STRANGE NEW BEAUTY:” DEGAS & THE MONOTYPE AT MOMA

July 13, 2016

Tags: Degas

Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917). Three Women in a Brothel, Seen from Behind (Trois filles assises de dos), c. 1877–79. Pastel over monotype on paper. 6 5/16 x 8 7/16 in. (16.1 x 21.4 cm). Musée Picasso, Paris.
There were four giants of impression, four historic heroes who banded together to display their work at the first impressionist exhibition in 1874, and withstood the barbs of more conventional observers to create a new and historic style. They were Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir & Edgar Degas. (more…)

VIVE LA DÉCADENCE! “PERGAMON” AT THE MET

July 7, 2016

Tags: Phidias

The Akropolis of Pergamon. By Friedrich (von) Thiersch, 1882. Pen and ink with watercolor on canvas, H. 78 in. (198 cm), W. 11 ft. 53/4 in. (350 cm). Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Graph 91). Image: © SMB / Antikensammlung.
I can’t remember when and where I was first introduced to Hellenistic sculpture, but almost in the same breath, I was told that it was decadent, following as it did the archaic of the 6th century BC and the classic of the 5th. (more…)