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…)

"INVENTING ABSTRACTION" REVISITED

April 7, 2013

Tags: Kandinsky, Frantisek Kupka, Delaunay, Morgan Russell, Marsden Hartley, Malevich, Mondrian

Kazimir Malevich. Zhivopisnyi realizm mal'chika s rantsem - krasochnye massy v 4-m izmerenii. (Painterly realism of a boy with a knapsack -- color masses in the 4th dimension). 1915. Oil on canvas, 28 x 17 1/2 inches (71.1 x 44.5 cm.). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1935. Acquisition confirmed in 1999 by agreement with the estate of Kazimir Malevich and made possible with funds from the Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest (by exchange). Photo courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, Imaging and Visual Resources Department, John Wronn.
In January, I paid my first call on “Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925” at the Museum of Modern Art” (through April 15). This is a most ambitious show, dedicated (as it says in the press release) to exploring “the advent of abstraction as both a historical idea and an emergent artistic practice.” It (more…)