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."

Mexican Modernism & Populism: "Paint the Revolution" at the Philadelphia Museum

December 29, 2016

Tags: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo

Diego Rivera, Dance in Tehuantepec, 1928. Oil on canvas, 6 feet 6-3/8 inches x 63-3/4 inches (199 x 162 cm). Private Collection. © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Folks, if you want a grand way to spend New Year’s, may I recommend you go to see “Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This gargantuan exhibition of hundreds of easel paintings, watercolors, murals, photographs, and graphics grandly demonstrates how a radical, though not highly-industrialized, society in the first half of the 20th century managed to unite two movements often seen as antitheses—modernism and populism. The museum is open on New Year’s Day, and this show will end its run there on January 8 (you can still see it from February to April at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City).. (more…)

A BOOK! A BOOK!

December 17, 2016

Tags: Peter Hide

It is my pleasure to report on the publication of a 178-page book, Peter Hide: A Sculptor’s Life, new from Hagios Press, an independent publisher in Regina, Saskatchewan that has also published work by Terry Fenton. As I contributed an essay to this book, and helped to edit several others, I can’t very well review it. I shall merely tell my readers that (more…)

RENAISSANCE & REFORMATION: MEMLING, LUTHER (AND CRANACH) AT THE MORGAN

December 10, 2016

Conrad Meit, Adam and Eve statues, Wittenberg, ca. 1510. Foundation Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha.
Two of the most momentous developments in modern European history occurred less than a century apart. The 15th century saw the efflorescence of the Renaissance, in Italy and Northern Europe, especially the Low Countries—while Northern Europe, especially Germany, Switzerland and England experienced the profound upheaval of the Protestant Reformation in the early 16th century. Currently, The Morgan Library & Museum is hosting two excellent exhibitions, one for each of these two momentous moments—and both with Teutonic pedigrees. Whether we’re talking about Hans Memling or Lucas Cranach the Elder & Martin Luther, we’re talking about figures born in what is today Germany. (more…)

A STUDY IN CONTRASTS: CHAOS & VOYEURISM

December 2, 2016

Group of Celadon Figurines. Three Kingdoms period, Wu kingdom (222–280). Glazed porcelain; various dimensions, from 5 3/8 to 7 5/8 in. Unearthed in 2006 from the Wu tomb at Shangfang in Jiangning, Jiangsu. Collection of the Nanjing Municipal Museum.
Two venerable uptown venues have recently moved downtown (which seems to be the “happening” neighborhood in Manhattan today). At the China Institute Gallery, we have very ancient art, while at the International Center of Photography Museum, we have very contemporary. And in other respects, my visits to these two institutions offered contrasts, too.

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