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."

SUMMER INTO AUTUMN AT THE MET: AN INSIGHT INTO THE PERMANENT COLLECTION, A BLOCKBUSTER, 4 LESS SUCCESSFUL SHOWS & FINALLY, TWO SMALL GEMS

September 19, 2018

Unknown American [Studio Portrait] , 1940s–50s. Gelatin silver print. Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2015. 2015.309
Everybody else is hurtling into autumn, but before I plunge into "Eugène Delacroix," the huge and highly appealing autumn show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, let me linger briefly over an insight I had into its permanent collection this summer.

I shall also offer a few thoughts about "Heavenly Bodies" its record-shattering summer blockbuster (through October 8), and four smaller and less successful spring-into-summer shows, since closed..

Finally let me call to your attention two very small but altogether delectable exhibitions, both still with us: "Dangerous Beauty: Medusa in Classical Art” (through January 6, 2019) and “African American Portraits: Photographs from the 1940s and 1950s." (through October 6). (more…)

SOUTINE/ GIACOMETTI: TWO PARISIAN GIFTS FOR THE SUMMER

September 10, 2018

Tags: Soutine, Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti, Suspended Ball (Boule suspendue), 1930–31. Plaster, painted metal, and string, 60.6 x 35.6 x 36.1 cm. Fondation Giacometti, Paris © 2018 Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York.

What a range of art Paris hosted in the years between the two world wars! At The Jewish Museum, the big summer show is “Chaim Soutine: Flesh” (through September 16). It presents 32 mostly still-life paintings that the moody, Russian-born expressionist made between ca. 1916, three years after he arrived in Paris at the age of 20, and 1943, the year of his death. At the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the big show is “Giacometti” (through September 12). This full-dress retrospective takes the wickedly witty Swiss-born, Paris-based sculptor (1901-1966) from his early surrealist period , in the late 1920s and early 1930s, through his "existential" period, at its apogee in the 1950s and 1960s, (more…)

WHAT’S UP AT THE MODERN? YES, THE MODERN

September 5, 2018

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler, Brancusi, Vojin Bakic

Berislav Šerbetić and Vojin Bakić. Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija. 1979–81. Petrova Gora, Croatia. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016.
On August 8, I paid a call to The Museum of Modern Art. First, I skated through the current hanging of its permanent collection (ongoing). Second, I took in "Constantin Brancusi Sculpture" (through February 18, 2019). Third -- and most absorbing -- I visited "Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980" (through January 13, 2019). (more…)