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."

JIMMIE DURHAM AT THE WHITNEY; AMADEO MODIGLIANI AT THE JEWISH MUSEUM

January 18, 2018

Tags: Jimmie Durham, Modigliani

Installation view of the exhibition Modigliani Unmasked. September 15, 2017 – February 4, 2018. The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo: Jason Mandella.
I don’t have a lot to say about “Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art (through January 28). Therefore I shall just fold my discussion of it into my review of a show whose sheer beauty led me to linger at it a lot longer, “Modigliani Unmasked” at The Jewish Museum (February 4). Both artists are or were outsiders within their respective time frames, though what this meant for their careers varied. (more…)

“ITEMS: IS FASHION MODERN?” AT MOMA

January 13, 2018

New Era 59FIFTY style New York Yankee Scarlet fitted cap. 1996. Size 7 ⅜. Wool cap with embroidered interlocking NY front logo. Yankees Top Hat logo rear embroidery. Made in the U.S.A (Buffalo, N.Y.) An original example of the first red cap ordered by request from Spike Lee to wear at game 3 of the 1996 world series playoffs.
One of the nice things that distinguishes the three big shows of applied arts this autumn is that in one way or another their organizers espouse formal values, as opposed to sociopolitical significance. Such was true at the media preview of the clothing—and accessories---show at the Museum of Modern Art entitled “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” (through January 28). (more…)

MESMERIZING ANIMAL MUMMIES AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM

January 8, 2018

Ibis Coffin. Possibly from Tuna el-Gebel, Egypt. Ptolemaic Period, 305–30 B.C.E., with later additions. Wood, silver, gold, rock crystal, 15 1/16 x 7 15/16 x 21 15/16 in. (38.2 x 20.2 x 55.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum; Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 49.48. (Photo: Gavin Ashworth, Brooklyn Museum).
Do you like little animals, especially kitty cats? Do you groove with ancient Egyptian art & culture? And do you have (perhaps) a slight taste for the macabre? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you will enjoy “Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt” at the Brooklyn Museum (through January 21). (more…)

CHINA AT THE GUGGENHEIM: POLITICS AS USUAL

January 1, 2018

Tags: Zhao Bandi, Chen Zhen

Zhao Bandi, Young Zhang, 1992. Oil on canvas, 214 x 140 cm. Private collection, image courtesy ShangART Gallery, Shanghai.
As I’ve said before, this is a big season for politics in art, and a determined contribution in this department is “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through January 7). At least, it’s meant to be a sociopolitical show. (more…)