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."


December 8, 2018

Tags: Jules Olitski, Nathlie Provosty

Installation shot, "Jules Olitski 60's Sprays" (left, Fourth Hoyo; right, Fourth Caliph). Courtesy Leslie Feely
For some reason, the top color-field painters of the 1960s (and even a little bit later) seem to be “in” this season in the Manhattan art world, or at least accepted as members in good standing of the ‘60s crowd (as opposed to being ostracized because Clement Greenberg admired them, and although few if indeed any of the younger artists most directly descended from them are deriving the slightest benefit from this new climate).

I say this not only because of the many solo shows I’ve so far reviewed this fall, nor even because of the exquisite mini-show of “Jules Olitski: 60’s Sprays” currently at Leslie Feely but most of all because of three group shows that include some of the artists I most admire and have been or will be mounted in unfamiliar big-league venues.

In this category I would first place “The Joy of Color” at Mnuchin on East 78th Street (closing December 8), second, “Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera,” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (opening December 17), and “Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art (due in March). (more…)


September 29, 2017

Tags: Anthony Caro, Jules Olitski

Installation view of "Caro & Olitski: 1965-1968, Painted Sculptures and the Bennington Sprays," Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 West 27th Street, through October 25. Photo by: Christopher Stach/Paul Kasmin Gallery.
Paul Kasmin, son of the Englishman John (aka “Kas”), is nothing if not ambitious. According to the Wikipedia “stub” dedicated to his gallery, he opened first in SoHo in 1989, but really only in the last few years has he become a major player in Chelsea, with three venues & a stimulating mix of historic & contemporary artists.

This fall, all three of his venues opened the season with what can be read as a progression tracing the history of modernism in America, and thereby hopefully serving to nail down color-field painting and sculpture as its logical apogee. (more…)


February 2, 2017

Tags: Gina Medcalf, Charles Hewlings, John McLean, Damien Hirst, John Hoyland, Jules Olitski, Bruce McLean, Virginia Jaramillo, Frank Bowling, Kevin Sinnott

Thanks to a deeply-discounted plane ticket that I was fortunate enough to obtain, I recently spent a blissful week in what (at this moment) may be my favorite country, England. As I had only three days in London, one in Oxford and one in Worcestershire, I planned my stay in advance detail comparable to limning angels on a pin’s head. To my delight, nearly everything went off like clockwork. (more…)


November 19, 2016

Tags: Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Larry Poons, Jules Olitski

Larry Poons, English Fields, 1968. Acrylic on canvas, 110 x 87 inches. Courtesy Yares Art
I’ve long admired the booths of Yares Art Projects of Santa Fe at The Art Show in the Park Avenue Armory, so when I received the announcement for a new gallery entitled Yares Art at 745 Fifth Avenue I beat feet to get there on opening night. The inaugural show was elegantly installed in a spacious portion of the former quarters of McKee, and titled “Helen Frankenthaler + L, M, N, O, P—Louis, Motherwell, Noland, Olitski, Poons.” Its emphasis is on color-field paintings from the 1950s and the 1960s, though with some later work, and on the whole, it is a knockout (through January 15). (more…)


June 2, 2016

Tags: Frank Bowling, Jules Olitski, Roy Lichtenstein, Kenneth Noland, Stanley Boxer, Lee Krasner, Esteban Vicente, Yunhee Min

Yunhee Min, Movements (swell 1), 2015. Acrylic on linen, 45 x 45 inches (114.3 x 114.3 cm). (AMY28111). Courtesy Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe & the artist.
Our enterprising gallerists have more than one way to promote the artists they believe in. Here's a rundown of a slew of displays of work during this past winter and spring that I’ve found worth prospecting. (more…)


February 7, 2016

Tags: Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Joaquín Torres García

Installation view of "Joaquín Torres-García: The Arcadian Modern" at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (October 25, 2015–February 15, 2016). Photo by Jonathan Muzikar. © 2015 The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Why do we look at great art of the past? First, to enjoy it. Second, to remind us how much we have forgotten about its quality and how wise it is to refresh that memory so that we can use it to evaluate the present. For both reasons, I recommend not only the surprising inspiration provided by the moving museum retrospective of Joaquín Torres García but also the fine but more familiar gallery shows of Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski. (more…)


December 6, 2015

Tags: Motherwell, Jules Olitski, Sara Genn, Joshua Avery Webster, Larry Zox, Thordis Adalsteinsdottir

Robert Motherwell: Elegy to the Spanish Republic at Dominique Lévy, New York (November 4, 2015 – January 9, 2016). Photo by Tom Powel Imaging. Courtesy of Dominique Lévy, New York/London
Rejoicing last week in the emptiness in New York galleries with nearly everybody at Miami Basel, and working my way downtown, I saw four exhibitions that I can heartily recommend for your solstice holiday pleasure: 1) Motherwell at Dominique Lévy; 2) Jules Olitski at Leslie Feely; 3) Sara Genn & Joshua Avery Webster at Voltz Clarke; and 4) Larry Zox & Thordis Adalsteinsdottir at 57 Stux + Haller. (more…)


April 7, 2014

Tags: Alexander Iolas, Les Lalanne, Jules Olitski

Jules Olitski, Escorial Mystery, 1991. Acrylic on canvas, 68 1/2 x 60 inches (174 x 152 cm), (c)Estate of Jules Olitski/Licensed by VAGA, New York NY.
At Paul Kasmin in Chelsea, two shows are blooming. The first, at 293 Tenth Avenue, is “Alexander the Great: The Iolas Gallery 1955-1987,” and the second, at 515 West 27th Street, is “Jules Olitski: Mitt Paintings” (both through April 19). There’s a connection between the two, though at first it may be hard to fathom, given the apparent differences between the two. (more…)


November 30, 2013

Tags: Joan Miró, André Masson, Roy Lerner, Peter G. Ray, Jules Olitski

Peter G. Ray. "The Garden of Earthly Delights" 2013. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 72" x 102".
Three worthwhile gallery shows I’ve seen recently present art from three times & places. The earliest takes us back to the 1920s in Paris. The latest presents art as it is now, in exurban New York and Canada. The middle focuses on a painter who worked during the five decades in between, all the way from Florida to New Hampshire. (more…)


August 25, 2013

Tags: Jules Olitski

Jules Olitski (1922-2007). No. 7, 1968. Aluminum with acrylic air-drying lacquer, 108 x 174 x 44 inches (274.3 x 442 x 111.8 cm)
During these last few days in August, we have been having idyllic weather in the Big Apple, so, if you're not at the seashore or in Paris, here's an elegant small installation in midtown to go and see. It's “Jules Olitski: Tower 49, NYC,” which was curated by Lauren Olitski Poster and mounted back in May in the lobby (more…)


November 8, 2012

Tags: Jules Olitski

Jules Olitski. Shaker. 1961. Magna acrylic on canvas, 25 x 16 inches. Courtesy The Olitski Family Estate and Freedman Art.
For the last year and a half, my art world friends on Facebook have been telling me about & attempting to show me the joys of “Revelation: Major Paintings by Jules Olitski.” This exhibition of 32 paintings from 1960 to 2005 was, according to its luxurious catalogue, originally co-organized by Barbara O’Brien and Rachel Blackburn Cozad, respectively (more…)


September 11, 2012

Tags: Rob Van Erve, Jules Olitski, Ed Clark, George Sugarman, Harold Cousins, Pollock, Tony Smith, Carolanna Parlato

Carolanna Parlato. Red Sky. 2012. Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 24" x 24" Courtesy Elizabeth Harris Gallery.
Well, and so we are off and running with the new season. I began my immersion on the evening of Thursday, September 6, when legions of galleries in Chelsea held opening receptions for their new shows. The streets of that neighborhood were crowded with people dressed festively, sometimes standing out on the pavement, chatting, and sometimes carrying their plastic glasses filled with wine from one venue to another.

Working my way downtown, (more…)


May 28, 2012

Tags: Motherwell, Ed Cohen, William Tillyer, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Robert Goodnough, James Little, Jill Nathanson, de Kooning, Esteban Vicente

"Nostalgia (For a While It Was Good to Have Been the Word 'Man')". Poem by Peter Viereck. Etchings by Esteban Vicente. Courtesy Woodward Gallery.
Over the winter, I also got around to a handful of gallery shows that I'd been notified about, and found something -- though not necessarily an awful lot ---to recommend them. One was the relatively new gallery of Bernard Jacobson, the Brit who also has a London gallery. So far, its New York outpost has concerned itself largely with British artists who don’t do an awful lot for me, but this winter’s group show, “Discursive Abstraction” (closed February 25) had several pieces which, (more…)


March 22, 2012

Tags: Jules Olitski

Jules Olitski. Called Upon, circa 1983-84. Acrylic on canvas, 100 1/2 x 111 inches. Courtesy of Babcock Galleries, New York
At this time of year, the Big Apple goes edge-happy. We must needs admire the latest frou-frou in a) the Whitney Biennial; b) the New Museum’s rival triennial (this year called “The Ungovernables”); and c) The Armory Show, with d) its marginally more traditional accompaniment of “The Art Show,” staged by the Art Dealers Association of America in the Park Avenue Armory, and (more…)


June 4, 2011

Tags: Jules Olitski

One of hottest shows in town is also the inaugural exhibition of a new gallery, making a double reason to celebrate. Ann Freedman, formerly director at Knoedler’s, has opened her own gallery at 25 East 73rd Street, FreedmanArt. Her inaugural exhibition is “Jules Olitski: Embracing Circles," (more…)

Report from Berlin

December 29, 2010

Tags: Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Rothko, Hofmann, Helen Frankenthaler

David Evison sends this report on the current show at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin(through January 10). It includes 14 paintings by 13 artists, drawn almost entirely from the permanent collection of the New York Guggenheim:

"The 'Color Fields' show at Deutsche Guggenheim is a breath of fresh air for Berlin, (more…)


November 24, 2010

Tags: Jules Olitski, Anthony Caro, Jan Gossart, Goya

Should you be in the mood for looking at art over the holiday weekend, here are three shows that I can highly recommend --- or rather, one show and two half-shows.

The one show that I can unqualifiedly recommend is “Jules Olitski & Anthony Caro: Making Art as Naked as Possible, 1964-1978” at (more…)


June 28, 2010

Tags: Oliver Johnson, Pheoris West, Richard Yarde, Fred Danziger, Picasso, Fairfield Porter, William Zorach, Marguerite Zorach, Lennart Anderson, Leland Bell, Louisa Matthiasdottir, Temma Bell, Rosemarie Beck, Philip Guston, Ed Rath, Kenneth Noland, Roy Lerner, Peter Reginato, Francine Tint, Arthur Yanoff, Jules Olitski, Matisse

On two steamy days last week, I visited five galleries, all with reasons to recommend them. First was “Images of Dance: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Evidence Dance Company” at Peg Alston Fine Arts (through July 15). Founded in 1985 by Ronald K. Brown, (more…)