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."

FUN & WORTHINESS AT THE MORGAN

August 12, 2017

Tags: John Singer Sargent, Whistler, Frank Duveneck, John La Farge

Head of a Markhor Goat, Mesopotamia, Sumerian, Early Dynastic III, ca. 2550-2250 B.C. Copper alloy, shell, and red stone. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia; 29-20-3.
The Morgan Library and Museum has at least two shows this summer of interest to the art world. The largest, worthy one is “Henry James and American Painting” (through September 10). The smallest, fun one is “Noah’s Beasts: Sculpted Animals from Ancient Mesopotamia” (through August 27). (more…)

“WORLD WAR I AND AMERICAN ART” AT PAFA (AND ELSWHERE)

April 6, 2017

Tags: John Singer Sargent, Boardman Robinson

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) Gassed, 1919 Oil on canvas, 90 ½ × 240 in. Fr.: 107 x 256 x 5 ½ in. Imperial War Museums, London, England
I feel horribly guilty about being so slow to review this winter’s mammoth, handsome, moving and now appallingly timely exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Entitled “World War I and American Art,” it opened at the beginning of November 2016, and I attended its media preview. In fact, I took so long examining it that I was the last critic to leave.

Now it will only be at PAFA (more…)

SUMMER AT THE MET: STATISTICS & THREE TO COOL OFF WITH

August 29, 2015

Tags: John Singer Sargent, George Caleb Bingham

George Caleb Bingham, American, 1811–1879. The Jolly Flatboatmen. Oil on canvas, 38 1/8 × 48 1/2 in. (96.8 × 123.2 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington. Patrons’ Permanent Fund.
Summer is a grand time to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Despite the crowds it draws it never gets all filled up (except in the cafeteria at lunchtime), and the temperature is so divinely cool. But don’t be deceived by those aristocratic high ceilings and genteel atmosphere of unconcern: the museum is nevertheless packing them in. (more…)

THREE AT BROOKLYN

June 28, 2013

Tags: El Anatsui, John Singer Sargent, LaToya Ruby Frazier

John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925). In a Medici Villa, 1906. Translucent watercolor and touches of opaque watercolor with graphite underdrawing, 21 3/16 x 14 3/8 in. (53.8 x 36.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by Special Subscription, 09.826
The Brooklyn Museum is also doing things by threes this summer. The talk of the town are the assemblages of El Anatsui. Connoisseurs of historic art are very taken by the watercolors of John Singer Sargent, but silly me! My favorite show at this museum right now is the photography of LaToya Ruby Frazier—not that the other two shows don’t have a good deal to recommend them, too. (more…)