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."

MONUMENTAL, MAGNIFICENT "AGE OF EMPIRES" AT THE MET

June 24, 2017

Rhinoceros. Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 9), 2nd century B.C. Gilt bronze, rhinoceros 7¾ x 3¼ x 3⅞ in. (19.8 x 8.4 x 9.8 cm). Excavated in 2010, tomb no. 1 (Liu Fei, prince of Jiangdu, d. 129 B.C.), Dayunshan, Xuyi, Jiangsu Province. Nanjing Museum. Photo: Courtesy Nanjing Museum.
Anybody who knows anything about me knows that I’m passionate about the Han Dynasty, so it goes almost without saying that I am delighted with the latest show of it at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, entitled “Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 BC – A. D. 220)” (through July 16). (more…)

EMOTION AMID TRANQUILITY: GREECE ON FIFTH AVENUE

June 14, 2017

Installation view of "A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD" at the Onassis Cultural Center New York. Photo by Joseph Coscia, Jr.
Recently, the New York Times ran a long article in its Sunday Style section on how anxiety is so widespread these days that it’s a social phenomenon as opposed to a merely psychological one. But you’d never guess it from the wonderful tranquility that reigns at the Onassis Cultural Center, despite the fact that its current show is titled, “A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD” (through June 24). (more…)

THE MARCH ART FAIRS (BELATEDLY)

June 10, 2017

Tags: Helen Frankenthler

Helen Frankenthaler, Summer Insignia, 1969. Acrylic on canvas, 95 x 85.25 in. Courtesy Leslie Feely.
On the first weekend in March every year, this town goes wild with art fairs. But they are over so soon that my readers can't see what I would have been talking about, had I rushed to review them. So I take my time -- nor do I feel a compulsion to review other art fairs since (Frieze, for example). My philosophy is that most art fairs are similar -- with some exceptions, which are as easy to spot in New York in March as they would be in Miami in December or at Basel in June. (more…)

MOMA, TNC & MATISSE GOING VIRAL IN MONTCLAIR

June 5, 2017

Tags: Francis Picabia, Cara London, Matisse

"Matisse and American Art" (left to right: Frankenthaler, Matisse, Rothko). Photo by Peter Jacobs/Courtesy of Montclair Art Museum
Once again, you catch me in my Goldilocks mode: I recently had three differently-sized (and differently oriented) art experiences. The biggest (and least attractive) was a trip to MoMA; the smallest (and considerably more attractive) took place in an East Village theater; and the middle-sized (altogether excellent) involves the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey. (more…)

THE WHITNEY BIENNIAL: TWO GOOD PLUS TWO HALF GOOD ARTISTS

June 1, 2017

Tags: Carrie Moyer, Shara Hughes, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Aliza Nisenbaum

Aliza Nisenbaum (b. 1977), La Talaverita, Sunday Morning NY Times, 2016. Oil on linen, 68 x 88 in. (172.7 x 223.5 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy T293 Gallery, Rome and Mary Mary, Glasgow.
Over the years, I have learned the hard way not to expect too much from the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art (which will be with us until June 11). Nor have my expectations ever been far wide of the mark. This time around, though, things were slightly different... (more…)