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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."

 

THOMAS DOWNING AT YARES...WHAT A BEAUTIFL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD....

Thomas Downing, Untitled, 1959, Acrylic on canvas, 77 5/8 x 92 inches (197.2 x 233.7cm).
Sorry folks, but Halasz’s lunch break seems to have gone on rather longer than originally intended….She is reporting back for duty on Thursday, July 19 and her remarks follow .

On July 1, at 2 am, I managed to hit my head so hard that it took 14 (or was it 16?) staples to close the scalp wound I’d incurred. Physically I seem to be recuperating nicely, but getting my head back together again in a figurative sense is proving harder. I do hope I am now up to giving you a report on “Thomas Downing: Spot On” at Yares Art at 745 Fifth Avenue (through August 6). This report will consist of Read More 
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A MESSAGE TO BENJAMIN

Oh say can you see....
Monday evening, 6/25/18

First, among the small but loyal band of people who subscribe to the print edition of (An Appropriate Distance) From the Mayor’s Doorstep are – gasp, yes, a few Republicans.

And, because its subject is primarily art, I normally try to avoid discussing my admittedly Democratic preferences in it.

I feel that art and politics are like apples and oranges, irrelevant to one another.

Though I know that many great artists have used their art to make political statements, it is because of the quality of their art as art which has made those works survive. Whatever political situations they may have been concerned with, as time passes are forgotten, so irrelevant that it becomes necessary to explain them in museum labels.

That said, on this occasion, I am going to discuss my preference in the Democratic primaries being held today, June 26, in New York State’s 12th Congressional District. This is where I live, and it is a heavily blue district in a heavily blue state. Thus whoever wins the primary is more or less assured of election in November. Read More 
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NATHANSON AT BERRY-CAMPBELL: GOSSAMER RADIANCE

Jill Nathanson, Cadence, 2017. Acrylic and polymers with oil on panel, 55 x 72 inches. Courtesy Berry-Campbell.
At Berry Campbell in Chelsea, we have “Jill Nathanson: Cadence” (through June 30). This lovely show, of 17 shimmering veils of color, picks up where the artist’s notable last show left off, and carries the unique presence she has established on to new triumphs. Read More 
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ZAMBON AT FIGUREWORKS: FANCIFULLY FIGURATIVE

Fulvia Zambon, "Muffin Lost Her Home," 2018. Oil on linen, 36” x 44.” Courtesy Figureworks.
Readers of this column with the stamina to read all the way through my reviews of Sideshow’s annual “Nation” shows may know I have long admired the academically flawless but highly imaginative paintings of Fulvia Zambon. At last, she has a fascinating show of her own at Figureworks in Williamsburg, “Fulvia Zambon: My Encounter with Momoi,” but you must rush to see it, as it closes this Sunday, June 3 and the gallery is only open Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 6. Read More 
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RUN, DO NOT WALK TO “GOLDEN KINGDOMS” AT THE MET

MASK. Turquoise, wood, mother-of-pearl, shell (Spondylus princeps, Spondylus calcifer). Probably Mixtec (Ñudzavui), A.D. 1200–1521. Mexico MiBACT Museo delle Civiltà - Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico. “L. Pigorini” Image © Museo delle Civiltà - Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico L. Pigorini, su concessione del MiBACT, Photo Archive scans (Mario Mineo).
I’m afraid I’m just not like other people. For most, the mention of “gold” in an exhibition’s title sends them en masse to see it. But for me, the medium is not the message, so I put off until the last minute seeing “Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. BIG mistake – as it only runs until May 28 now, and it’s terrific! So by all means, run do not walk to see it. Read More 
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TWO ART FAIRS: THE ARMORY SHOW & TEFAF NEW YORK

Paul Kasmin booth at "Tefaf New York Spring 2018". Photo by Mark Niedermann
Art fairs frustrate me, because I primarily want to send readers to see the art I'm writing about (as Clement Greenberg said, "All a critic can really do is point," or words to that effect). An art fair is over long before my report goes online. Still as "news," the art fairs are not without merit, so here are belated reports on two this season. One is “The Armory Show,” held as usual on Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River from March 8 to 11. The other is "Tefaf New York Spring 2018," which was held for only the second time at the Park Avenue Armory this year from May 2 to 6. Read More 
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RECOMMENDED: EARLY BOXER, RECENT LITTLE

James Little, "Near There," 2017. Raw pigment on canvas, 33.5 x 41.50 inches. Courtesy of the artist and the June Kelly Gallery, New York
Two current shows of abstract painting that I can most heartily recommend are “Stanley Boxer: Gradations” at Berry Campbell in Chelsea (through May 19) and “James Little: Slants and White Paintings” at June Kelly in SoHo (through May 15). Little’s show is of new work, while Boxer’s is from earlier in his career, but both are full of surprises. Read More 
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“COLORS” AT FREEDMAN ART

Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), "Untitled," 1959. Oil and collage on paper, 14 x 11 inches. Signed lower center, green crayon: 3/59 \ Frankenthaler (Inv# FA849). Courtesy Freedman Art
A singularly inventive group show at Freedman Art is “Colors” (extended through August 17). The idea for it was born when the gallery’s director, Ann Freedman, visited the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA last year, to see its exhibition devoted to Sam Kootz, the pioneering art dealer. While Freedman was there, her attention was drawn to a poem entitled “Colors” by a12-year-old schoolgirl named Zoe Kusyk that had been inspired by a 1977 Larry Poons painting at the Fralin.  Read More 
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MAX HOLLEIN & THOMAS COLE AT THE MET: COMMENT & REALITY

Thomas Cole (American [born England], Lancashire 1801–1848 Catskill, New York). The Course of the Empire: The Consummation of Empire, 1835–36. Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 76 in. (130.2 x 193 cm). New-York Historical Society, Gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts (1858.3). Digital image created by Oppenheimer Editions.
There’s no doubt that the New York Times devotes generous attention to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But this can lead to some very bum steers. Not only was I dismayed by the paper’s recent article on Max Hollein, the museum’s new director, but its review of the museum’s highly sophisticated and thoroughly delightful exhibition of “Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings” actually discouraged me from attending it until far too late in its run. Hence I can only belatedly encourage my readers to beat feet to this show before it closes on May 13 (or see it at the National Gallery in London, where it will appear from June 11 to October 7).  Read More 
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EARLY & LATE AVERY AT YARES ART

Milton Avery (1885-1965), "Untitled (Wild Purple Mountain) / Untitled (Valley Floor), c. 1930s. Double-sided gouache on black paper, 18 x 24 inches (45.7 x 61cm). (Inv# 3104). Courtesy Yares Art.
For I don’t know how long, I have been aware of the big, spacious landscapes and seascapes of the later 1950s and early 1960s by Milton Avery (1885-1965), but it seems like forever. And I have to confess it has taken me a very long time to warm up to them. However, I have exceedingly warm feelings toward the current show at Yares Art, which is entitled "Milton Avery: Early Works on Paper + Late Paintings" (extended through May 5). Read More 
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