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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."

 

PERSONALITY V. TALENT (CHAPTER TWO)

Andy Warhol (1928–1987), Self-Portrait, 1964. Acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago; gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection, 2015.126 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York.
My second example of the triumph of personality as opposed to the gift for making great paintings is holding forth with appropriate fanfare at the Whitney Museum of American Art. It is “Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again,” and it is billed as the first Warhol retrospective organized in the U.S. since the one at MoMA in 1989. It will be playing at the Whitney through March 31, 1919; then at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, May 18 through September 2, 1919, and the Art Institute of Chicago, October 20, 1919 through January 26, 2020. But you really should have seen the media preview in New York. That was a show in itself! Read More 
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PERSONALITY V. TALENT (CHAPTER ONE)

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). Read More 
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SOCIAL REALISM FROM CHICAGO: CHARLES WHITE

Charles White (1918–1979), I Been Rebuked & I Been Scorned (Solid as a Rock), 1954. Wolff crayon and charcoal on Anjac illustration board, 43 1/2" x 27 1/4", signed; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY.
Seemingly from birth, Charles W. White (1918-1979) possessed extraordinary gifts as a draftsman, and a correspondingly great future as an artist. But as an African-American child growing up in lower-class Southside Chicago, he would also face problems in realizing his ambitions. That he managed so triumphantly to do so – not only as a draftsman but also as a muralist, painter and lithographer, is the subject of two shows in Manhattan: “Charles White: A Retrospective,” at the Museum of Modern Art (through January 13, 2019), and “Truth and Beauty: Charles White and His Circle,” at Michael Rosenfeld in Chelsea (through November 10). Read More 
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