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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."

 

STARS ALL OVER TOWN—

This autumn is a golden moment for lovers of fine modernist abstraction. There are four – count ‘em, 4 – excellent Manhattan gallery shows of stars of that persuasion currently on view. At the new Hales Project Room, we have Frank Bowling (through October 15). At Pace, we have John Hoyland (through October 21). At Paul Kasmin, we have Jules Olitski & Anthony Caro (through October 25), and at Yares, we have Larry Poons (through October 28).

I am a great fan of all five of these artists. However, since I started this website in 2010, I have written about Caro and Bowling 9 times apiece, about Poons 11 times, and about Olitski, 17 times. Therefore, I will confine my enthusiasm for all four of them to relatively modest dimensions this time around, in the interests of posting my remarks on all of them sooner rather than later. Since I have never written about Hoyland before, though, I will have more to say about him (and take a little longer to say it). Read More 
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FIRST, THE BIRTHDAY BOY: POONS

Larry Poons (b. 1937). Dimension, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 64 x 114 inches. Courtesy Yares Art.
On October 1, Larry Poons will be celebrating his 80th birthday. It doesn’t seem possible somehow. When I saw him at the opening of “Larry Poons: Momentum” (through October 28) at Yares on Fifth Avenue, he looked just as wiry and energetic as ever.

His latest paintings, too, bespoke an-ever youthful enthusiasm, as well as his hallmark medley of bright, mellifluous colors in delicately brushy configurations suggestive of floral motifs (I’m not the first to be reminded by this latest style of his of the lily-pads of Monet).  Read More 
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SECOND, THE OCTOGENARIAN: BOWLING

Frank Bowling, Metropolitanblooms, 1982. Acrylic on canvas, 35 1/8 x 26 5/8 inches. Courtesy Hales Project Room.
Having arrived on this planet the year before Poons did, Frank Bowling is now comfortably ensconced among the ranks of the octogenarians. He too continues to paint away as busily as ever in his London studio, but for its inaugural exhibition, the pocket-sized Hales Project Room on Delancey Street opted to offer to American viewers six modestly scaled Bowling acrylics on canvas executed in the late 70s and early 80s, when the artist was working a London studio measuring just 12 x 14 feet.

The show as a whole is called “Frank Bowling: Metropolitanbloooms” (through October 15). Read More 
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THIRD, CLIMAX TO AN EVOLUTION: CARO & 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.  Read More 
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TWO AT THE MET: CRISTOBAL DE VILLALPANDO & THE AVANT-GARDE IN RE WORLD WAR I

Cristobal de Villalpando (ca. 1649–1714), Moses and the Brazen Serpent and the Transfiguration of Jesus, 1683. Oil on canvas. Col. Propiedad de la Nación Mexicana. Secretaria de Cultura. Direccion General de Sitios y Monumentos del Patrimonio Cultural. Acervo de la Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Inmaculada Concepcion. Puebla, Mexico.
As the summer season wound its way towards Labor Day, I visited two moderately interesting shows at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Cristobal de Villalpando: Mexican Painter of the Baroque” (through October 15), and “World War I and the Visual Arts” (through January 7). Read More 
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PLEASURABLE POLLOCK PRINTS & AVEDON PHOTOS AT THE GUILD HALL IN EAST HAMPTON

Jackson Pollock, Untitled, CR1082 (P19) c. 1944-45. Printed in 1967. Engraving and drypoint on white Italia paper. Edition 11/50. Sheet: 19 13/16 x 27 ¼ inches. Courtesy Washburn Gallery, New York, and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation.
Still catching up on summer highlights, I gave you two shows for which I abandoned the Big Apple on August 19, “Jackson Pollock: The Graphic Works,” and “Avedon’s America” both at the Guild Hall in East Hampton (and both through October 9). Although the second show reminded me of my middle-brow childhood, and the first, of my (somewhat more) high-brow adulthood, both furnished a wealth of pleasure. Read More 
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FUN & GAMES AT THE WHITNEY WITH HELIO OITICICA

Helio Oiticica (1937–1980), installation view of Tropicália (1966–67) at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 2016. Plants, sand, birds, and poems by Roberta Camila Salgado, dimensions variable. Collection of César and Claudio Oiticica. © César and Claudio Oiticica. Image courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Photograph by Bryan Conley.
If you don’t care much for painting or sculpture, but want to have a fun time reliving the heady days of the late ‘60s and the early ‘70s, when postmodernism was still (relatively) fresh & original, let me recommend “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art (through October 1). Read More 
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LOVERLY LIMEY ORIGINALS ON PAPER IN PRINCETON

Joseph Mallord William Turner, English, 1775–1851. Christ Church College, Oxford, 1832–33. Watercolour and bodycolour over graphite with scratching out, on paper. The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.
Welcome back, readers! Lots of goodies in town in September, but one out-of-town show must get precedence, since it's closing so soon. It is "Great British Drawings from the Ashmolean Museum" at the Princeton University Art Museum (through September 17). And when that title says "great," it means it! Read More 
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