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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."

 

NOW WE HAVE PICASSO....SCULPTURE AT MOMA

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Chair. Cannes, 1961. Painted sheet metal, 45 1/2 × 45 1/16 × 35 1/16 in. (115.5 × 114.5 × 89 cm). Musée national Picasso–Paris © 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
“As Gertrude Stein might say, and perhaps she has, for today one picks things out of the air and she may though I cannot say she has or has not: Now we have Picasso and now that we have Picasso what are we going to do about Picasso now we have him?” Read More 
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MOST FAMOUS ABSTRACTIONIST: STELLA AT THE WHITNEY

Frank Stella, Plant City, 1963. Zinc chromate on canvas. 102 1/2 x 102 1/2 in. (260.4 x 260.4 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art; gift of Agnes Gund in memory of Anne d’Harnoncourt, 2008. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Arguably, Frank Stella is the most famous & successful abstract artist to emerge in the widespread reaction against abstract expressionism that began in the summer of 1950 (months after “ab-ex” itself had become the reigning avant-garde). In my book, neither “famous” nor "successful” automatically equates to “best,” but these two adjectives qualified Stella to become the subject of the first  Read More 
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APPEALING DUO: PARLATO & WALKER AT ELIZABETH HARRIS

Carolanna Parlato, Beckon, 2015. Acrylic and molding paste on canvas, 66 x 72 inches. Courtesy Elizabeth Harris Gallery.
Two appealing mid-career artists are showing at Elizabeth Harris in Chelsea. The front gallery displays eight abstract paintings on canvas (all done in 2015) in “Carolanna Parlato: A Delicate Balance,” while in the back gallery may be found fifteen representational drawings on paper (all done in 2014) in “Sandy Walker: Stehekin Poems” (both through February 14).  Read More 
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THE GRAVITY OF A VOLCANO: POONS AT LORETTA HOWARD

Larry Poons, Loose Change, 1977. Acrylic on canvas, 94 x 43 1/2 inches. Courtesy Loretta Howard Gallery.
Entering Loretta Howard just now is like walking into the middle of Niagara Falls, or being confronted by the descending lava of a volcano—all as frozen for eternity by a modernist photographer like Brassaï, whose studies of Picasso’s sculpture from the 1930s and 40s currently grace the Picasso sculpture show at MoMA. Read More 
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VENERABLE FROM AFRICA: “THE MIDDLE KINGDOM” AT THE MET

Game of Hounds and Jackals. Ivory, ebony, sycamore. Board: L. 15.6 cm (6⅛ in.), W. 10.1 cm (4 in.), H. 6.8 cm (2⅝ in.); jackal pins: H. 7 cm (2¾ in.) to 8.5 cm (3⅜ in.); hound pins: H. 6 cm (2⅜ in.) to 6.8 cm (2⅝ in.). Twelfth Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat IV (ca. 1814–1805 B.C.). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.1287a–k); Gift of Lord Carnarvon, 2012 (2012.508) Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is really committing itself this autumn to what Victorians called “the dark continent,” meaning that it was unexplored, and what has more recently has been recognized as “the birthplace of humanity.” Besides “Kongo,” the other big African show that the museum offers is “Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom” (through January 24). Read More 
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CARPE DIEM WITH ARCHIBALD MOTLEY AT THE WHITNEY

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Hot Rhythm, 1961. Oil on canvas, 40 × 48 3/8 in. (101.6 × 122.9 cm). Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie Gerrard Browne. Image courtesy the Chicago History Museum. © Valerie Gerrard Browne
The Whitney Museum of American Art had two big shows this autumn, on Frank Stella and Archibald Motley. I expect to be writing about Stella in the not-too-distant future, but I must confess that I had a lot more fun with “Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist” (through January 17). Read More 
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KELTIE, JACKIE & ANNE

Anne Truitt, Rice-Paper Drawing [9], 1965. Ink on Japanese rice paper, 12 1/4 x 9 inches; 31 x 23 cm. : © Estate of Anne Truitt / The Bridgeman Art Library / Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.
Some shows I see because I’m told I should, others because I expect to like them. Here are two October exhibitions of the first type, of work by Keltie Ferris & Jackie Saccoccio; also one show of the second type, of work by Anne Truitt.  Read More 
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