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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."

 

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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“ZURBURÁN’S JACOB AND HIS TWELVE SONS” AT THE FRICK COLLECTION

Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, 1598–1664), "Judah," ca. 1640–45. Oil on canvas , 79 1/4 x 40 3/4 inches (201.3 x 103.5 cm). © The Auckland Project/Zurbarán Trust. Photo credit: Robert LaPrelle.
As my first entry in the museum category in some time, I can recommend “Zurburán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons” at The Frick Collection (through April 22). This stately group of thirteen paintings, each measuring nearly 7 feet high and about 3½ feet wide, graces the East Gallery of the Frick, on the ground floor, and offers a telling contribution to the lore surrounding Francisco de Zurburán (1568-1664). Read More 
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DIONYSIAN DZUBAS AT LORETTA HOWARD

FRIEDEL DZUBAS, "Northdrift", 1959. Oil on canvas, 19 x 38 inches. 'Friedel Dzubas' (lower left); signed, titled and inscribed 'DZUBAS /"NORTHDRIFT." Courtesy of Loretta Howard Gallery.
The current show at Loretta Howard is “Friedel Dzubas: Gestural Abstraction” (through April 21). It reminds me of an important article written by Clement Greenberg in 1947. Called “The Present Prospects of American Painting and Sculpture,” this article appeared in the British magazine Horizon. Read More 
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“UNLOCKING THE GRID” AT BOOKSTEIN PROJECTS

Adolph Gottlieb, Nostalgia for Atlantis, 1944. Oil and tempera on canvas, 20 x 25 inches. Image courtesy of Bookstein Projects, New York.
Lori Bookstein started out in the gallery business in 1997, with an Upper East Side space on 78th Street, which she opened with the still-memorable show of “Pat Lipsky’s Black Paintings.” Since then, the gallery has moved to West 57th Street and then again to Chelsea. There it shut up shop in the fall of 2016. But it seems you can’t keep a good woman down, so now Bookstein has returned to her roots, and opened up Bookstein Projects at 60 East 66th Street. At present her exhibition is a little jewel of a group show entitled “Unlocking the Grid” (through April 14). Read More 
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