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."

EYE-CATCHING NEW SHOW PLACE: YARES ART ARRIVES

November 19, 2016

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Larry Poons, Jules Olitski

Larry Poons, English Fields, 1968. Acrylic on canvas, 110 x 87 inches. Courtesy Yares Art
I’ve long admired the booths of Yares Art Projects of Santa Fe at The Art Show in the Park Avenue Armory, so when I received the announcement for a new gallery entitled Yares Art at 745 Fifth Avenue I beat feet to get there on opening night. The inaugural show was elegantly installed in a spacious portion of the former quarters of McKee, and titled “Helen Frankenthaler + L, M, N, O, P—Louis, Motherwell, Noland, Olitski, Poons.” Its emphasis is on color-field paintings from the 1950s and the 1960s, though with some later work, and on the whole, it is a knockout (through January 15). (more…)

"JERUSALEM" AT THE MET: MOST SUMPTUOUS SHOW IN TOWN

November 12, 2016

Section of a Qur’an Syria, the Jazira, or Egypt, 13th century. Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on paper; 274 folios 20 × 13¼ in. (50.8 × 33.7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund, 1924 (24.146.1). Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
“Relevance!” joyfully caroled Thomas Campbell¸ director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the media preview for his museum’s latest super-spectacular, “Jerusalem: 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven” (through January 8). Adjectives I prefer for this show: sumptuous, luxurious, moving, memorable – but you get the idea. Even if you aren’t political, this is a show to see. (more…)

AN UNAVOIDABLE POLITICAL DISPATCH

November 4, 2016

Tags: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump

Clement Greenberg, in later life, rarely discussed politics -- but he had political opinions, and they were to the left of center (some people called him a liberal, but he defined himself to me as a "socialist."). Artists also have political opinions, though only occasionally do these opinions successfully surface (Goya’s “Third of May” and Picasso’s “Guernica,” being two notable examples of "message art" that also succeed as art).

I don’t let artists' politics influence whether I will write about them. And my own segments on politics (which don’t appear that often) are separated from my artistic segments. But -- after this upsetting campaign---I need to get some thoughts about the candidates into print before Election Day. (more…)

WALTER DARBY BANNARD (1934-2016): HE TOUCHED A LOT OF LIVES

November 1, 2016

Tags: Darby Bannard

Walter Darby Bannard, The Windwards (13-1B), 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 49 1/2 x 54 inches. Courtesy Berry Campbell
When word broke on Facebook on October 2 that Walter Darby Bannard had died, I received more than the ordinary number of worried or consolatory emails. This was proof, if I needed any, that he was widely known and loved, not only for his fine painting but also for his teaching, for his role as dauntless defender of modernism in print, and for simply being a very nice guy. (more…)