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 27, 2013

Tags: Tiepolo, Guardi, Canaletto

Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto. 1697 Venice 1768. Architectural Capriccio. Pen and brown ink, gray wash, over graphite and traces of black chalk. The Morgan Library and Museum. Gift of Janos Scholz; 1973.48
One of the things that separates your true modernist from your postmodernist (at least when one is talking about contemporary artists and critics of the contemporary scene) is that true modernists go for the best art of the past as much as the best art of the present. The philosophy is that greatness doesn’t age or go out of style.

Your true postmodernist, on the other hand, is apt to dismiss any really good contemporary art that s/he doesn’t like as “old-fashioned,” and, when s/he is dealing with the art of the museums, there is an ever-so-slight hangover from the dadaists of World War I, who felt that museums were only repositories for “dead art,” the next thing to mausoleums, in fact. Any time a contemporary critic, on the NY Times or elsewhere, wants to cast aspersions on the Met, for example, s/he sneers at how it doesn't pay enough attention to contemporary art. (more…)