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Report from the Front

Art criticism, sometimes with context, occasional politics. Published in hard copy 2-4 times a year. New shows: "events;" hard copy rates & how to support the online edition: "works."

 

SAD NEWS: CHARLES MILLARD

Well, in this holiday season I have sad news and glad news. The sad news is an obituary of Charles Millard, who according to a long & loving paid notice in the New York Times for December 17 died on December 11 at his home in Chapel Hill, NC. Millard was a gifted curator with an excellent eye and the force of his convictions to back it up. He was a good friend to me, but more importantly to many artists--among those mentioned in his obituary were Helen Frankenthaler, Anthony Caro, Kenneth Noland & Jules Olitski, but I know there were others as well.  Read More 
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GLAD NEWS: THAWS’ GEMS AT THE MORGAN

Paul Cezanne (1839 - 1906), The Bathers, ca. 1900. Watercolor over graphite, Thaw Collection, The Morgan Library & Museum, 2017.29. Photography by Steven H. Crossot, 2014.
Now, for the glad news, both in itself and for its gentle reminder that ars longa, vita brevis. This is “Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection," at The Morgan Library & Museum (through January 7). It’s a whale of a show, with more than 150 marvelous examples of unique masterworks on paper by dozens of artists from the Renaissance to the 20th century – though I have to confess that I didn’t respond to all of them equally. At the very least, I admired all of them, but only a limited number sent me up the wall with delight. (All of which may be another way of saying that the older I get, the more idiosyncratic I become.) Read More 
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FIVE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

David Smith. Origins & Innovations, Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street 13 November – 23 December. Foreground: "Three Circles Related" (left), and "Agricola VIII" (right). © The Estate of David Smith Courtesy The Estate of David Smith and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Genevieve Hanson
In the home stretch for the holidays, I saw five gallery exhibitions displaying a wide range of talents – most of which I liked, but also some that I didn’t. They were 1) “Painter/Printmaker: Spirit of Collaboration,” at Freedmanart (through January 20); 2) Rudolf Stingel at Gagosian on Madison Avenue (through December 22), 3) “In the Balance,” at Gallery Gaia (through December 30, open weekends 2 to 7 pm except December 24), 4) “Ardent Nature: Arshile Gorky Landscapes, 1943 – 47” at Hauser & Wirth on East 69th Street (through December 23), and 5) “David Smith: Origins & Innovations,” at Hauser & Wirth on West 22nd Street (through December 23). Read More 
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SAM GILLIAM AT MNUCHIN: INNOVATIONS

Sam Gilliam exhibition at Mnuchin Gallery. Left, "Spread;" right, "Spring Thaw." Photography Tom Powel Imaging. Artwork © Sam Gilliam.
An exhibition that surprised me very pleasantly was “Sam Gilliam: 1967-73,” at Mnuchin (through December 16). From what little of his work that I’d seen before, I entered this show with not too high expectations. Read More 
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A GARLAND OF ABSTRACTS

Kenneth Noland, Fete, 1959. Oil on canvas, 69 x 68.5 inche. Courtesy Yares Art.
The moment all the big spenders depart for Miami-Basel, New York galleries seem to blossom forth with abstracts. Or anyway, that’s how it was two years ago, and how it is again in 2017. So I have six shows to report on, three by juniors and three by seniors. The juniors are “Darcy Gerbarg” at Real + Art Chelsea (closed December 5); “Jacqueline Humphries” at Greene Naftali (through December 16); and “Louise P. Sloane: Selected Paintings 1977-2017” at Sideshow (through December 17). The seniors are “Theodoros Stamos (1922-1997)” at ACA (through December 23); Lee Krasner: The Umber Paintings, 1959-1962” at Paul Kasmin (through January 13); and Kenneth Noland: Circles, Early and Late” at Yares Art (through December 30). Read More 
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