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."

PERSONALITY V. TALENT (CHAPTER ONE)

November 15, 2018

Tags: Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich

Marc Chagall, Double Portrait with Wine Glass, 1917–18, oil on canvas. Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, gift of the artist, 1949. Artwork © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris; image provided by CNAC/MNAM/Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, New York.
The older I get, the more convinced I am that to achieve success in the art world one needs not only visual talent, but the “right” personality. In fact, sometimes the “right” personality (variously defined) trumps the greater visual talents of others. In Manhattan this fall, we have two major museum exhibitions demonstrating the truth of my maxim. The first I shall deal with here and now. It’s the solidly conceived, abundantly documented and handsomely mounted “Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich: The Russian Avant-Garde in Vitebsk, 1918-1922,” at The Jewish Museum (through January 6, 2019). (more…)

SOCIAL REALISM FROM CHICAGO: CHARLES WHITE

November 4, 2018

Tags: Charles White

Charles White (1918–1979), I Been Rebuked & I Been Scorned (Solid as a Rock), 1954. Wolff crayon and charcoal on Anjac illustration board, 43 1/2" x 27 1/4", signed; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY.
Seemingly from birth, Charles W. White (1918-1979) possessed extraordinary gifts as a draftsman, and a correspondingly great future as an artist. But as an African-American child growing up in lower-class Southside Chicago, he would also face problems in realizing his ambitions. That he managed so triumphantly to do so – not only as a draftsman but also as a muralist, painter and lithographer, is the subject of two shows in Manhattan: “Charles White: A Retrospective,” at the Museum of Modern Art (through January 13, 2019), and “Truth and Beauty: Charles White and His Circle,” at Michael Rosenfeld in Chelsea (through November 10). (more…)