instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

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."

 

REALISM RAMPANT: ZEUXIS AT FIRST STREET

Franklin Einspruch, Tulips in Vase, 2021. Watercolor and egg tempera on paper, 9 x 6 inches.

For some years now, I have been hot on the trail of an elusive group of realists (yes, realists).   This group calls itself Zeuxis, in honor of the ancient Greek painter whose art was so true to life that birds pecked at his pictures of grapes. At long last Zeuxis (the group, not the ancient Greek) is having a show at First Street (which is actually at 526 West 26th Street).  And, unlike so many of this group's shows, this one will be up long enough so that my readers can go and see it for themselves.  It is called "Composing in the Key of S" (through May 22), and I found it highly enjoyable. Read More 

Be the first to comment

PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTION

In March, The Penguin Press published "Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York," a book by Alexander Nemerov.  Nemerov is the 57-year-old art history professor who teaches at Stanford, and who this past winter contributed an essay to the catalogue for the "Core" paintings of Jules Olitski at Yares (see my post of  February 10 below) Read More 

Be the first to comment

TOBEY AT WAHLSTEDT: PROTO-POLLOCK?

Mark Tobey, Sharp Field, 1960.  Tempera, 6 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches. Courtesy Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art.

 

If you believe everything you read online, Jackson Pollock owed his celebrated "all-over" style entirely to the "white writing" of Mark Tobey. This anyway is how Tobey's Wikipedia entry tells it,  To me, this is like comparing a candle to a bonfire, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy "Mark Tobey: Nature's Patterns," eighteen mostly-small but still highly enjoyable works at Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art (through May 12). A candle can be beautiful, too -- and even a candle may ignite a blaze. Read More 

Be the first to comment

WIMBERLEY COLLAGES AT BERRY CAMPBELL: APPEALING

Frank Wimberley, "Untitled," 1987. Acrylic and collage on board, 33 1/2 x 27 1/4 in  Courtesy Berry Campbell.

 

I've followed the career of Frank Wimberley since 1999, but that's only a fraction of his total career. Born in Pleasantville, New Jersey, in 1926, he's now in his 90s and has been exhibiting since 1969. Primarily, he's known as an abstract painter.   However, he's also made collages and nearly everything else from ceramics to assemblages, so for those who know him best, it comes as no surprise that his current show is "Frank Wimberley: Collage" at Berry Campbell (through April 17). Read More 

Be the first to comment

UNSLEEPING REASON: GOYA GRAPHICS AT THE MET

Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes) (Spanish, 1746–1828). Plate 42 from Los Caprichos: Thou who canst not (Tu que no puedes.), 1799. Etching, burnished aquatint, Sheet 11 5/8 × 8 1/4 in. (29.5 × 21 cm); plate 8 1/2 × 5 7/8 in. (21.5 × 15 cm).The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of M.
Knoedler & Co., 1918 (18.64[42])

 

 

"There's no question in my mind but that Goya's "Third of May" is better than anything Pollock could paint," Clement Greenberg told a Bennington seminar in 1971. It's unlikely New York will get to see a full-dress retrospective of Francisco Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) any time soon, with or without "The Third of May.".  But we do have another way of celebrating that Spanish master, with "Goya's Graphic Imagination,"  a wickedly handsome show of about 50 prints and about 50 drawings, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (through May 2). True, most of these works on paper are from the Met's own extensive collection, but the show also includes some memorable loans. Even more importantly, it highlights an aspect of the master that is often overlooked. Read More 

Be the first to comment

REALISM RAMPANT: ZEUXIS AT FIRST STREE

Franklin Einspruch, Tulips in Vase, 2021.Watercolor and egg tempera on paper, 9 x 6 inches.

 For some years now, I have been hot on the trail of an elusive group of realists (yes, realists).   This group calls itself Zeuxis, in honor of the ancient Greek painter whose art was so true to life that birds pecked at his pictures of grapes. At long last Zeuxis (the group, not the ancient Greek) is having a show at First Street (which is actually at 526 West 26th Street).  And, unlike so many of this group's shows, this one will be up long enough so that my readers can go and see it for themselves.  It is called "Composing in the Key of S" (through May 22), and I found it highly enjoyable. Read More 

Be the first to comment

"PEOPLE" PICTURES: DAVID HOCKNEY AT THE MORGAN

David Hockney, "Celia, 21 Nov 2019."  Ink and acrylic on paper, 30 1/4 x 22 5/8".© David Hockney. Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

 

Traditional representation, especially when its subjects are people, tends to be better box office than abstraction.   So it should come as no surprise that the Morgan Library & Museum was well populated when I recently went there to see "David Hockney: Drawing from Life" (through May 30). If you can deal with the pandemic (which requires reservations at the Morgan) and brave the winter weather, you too may enjoy this lively exhibition featuring more than 100 drawings and prints skillfully depicting the artist's friends and/or business associates, mother and himself over the course of 65 years. Read More 

Be the first to comment

OLITSKI'S "CORE PAINTINGS:" AS OTHERS SEE THEM

JULES OLITSKI (American 1922-2007), Fanny D., 1960. Magna acrylic on canvas, 89 x 89 1/2 inches (26.1 x 227.3cm). Photo Credit: Jason Mandella courtesy of Yares Art. Copyright: (c) 2020 Estate of Jules Olitski licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
 

Catalogue essays for commercial galleries are a special form of literature.  Although their writers are frequently referred to as "critics," these writers do not criticize in the sense that reviewers for independent publications might.  As a rule, too, their essays are expected to focus on the works that the gallery will be displaying in this particular show, and to correlate their remarks with the presentation itself.

 

That said, there is still considerable illumination and edification to be gained from a careful study of the three essays and the "Chronology" contained in "Jules Olitski: Color to the Core, Paintings 1960-1964," the 124-page, lavishly-illustrated outsize catalogue accompanying the spectacular exhibition at Yares Art in New York of 33 medium-sized to large paintings and nine small oil pastels executed between 1959 and 1965.   (This show was scheduled to close on January 30 when I posted my review of it on January 4, but I am happy to report its run has been extended to March 12.). Read More 

4 Comments
Post a comment

GERALD JACKSON'S HAPPY SHOW AT WILMER JENNINGS

"Gerald Jackson: Recent Releases II" at Wilmer Jennings,  November 27, 2020 to January 30, 2021.  Photograph by Christian Carone.

Certain exhibitions leave one with a happy feeling.  This isn't always because every picture in them is a masterpiece.  It may be because one gets the feeling that the artist had fun making the work on view: that even when he may have been fooling around, he was experimenting. And isn't experiment what modern art is supposed to be all about?

 

 If you want to see such a show, you need to get to "Gerald Jackson: Recent Releases, II" in Wilmer Jennings at 219 East Second Street quickly. That is because due to the pandemic I was only able to get there myself last week, and the show has only a week more to run—from Wednesday to Saturday, 11 to 6, through January 30. Read More 

1 Comments
Post a comment

UNTERGANG: ROTHKO & CHURCH AT MNUCHIN

Mark Rothko, Browns and Blacks in Reds, 1957. Oil on canvas, 91 x 60 inches (231.1. x 152.4 cm). © 1998 by Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko
& Frederic Edwin Church, Marine Sunset (The Black Sea), 1881-1882.  Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 42 inches (76.5 x 106.7 cm). Michael Altman Fine Art & Advisory Services. 
Photograph by Tom Powell Imaging, Inc. New York
 
 

 At Mnuchin on East 78th Street we have "Church & Rothko: Sublime" (through March 13).   This show combines 17 small- to medium-sized paintings by Frederic E. Church (1826-1900), the second-generation Hudson River School painter, with eight medium-sized to large paintings by Mark Rothko (1903-1970), the first-generation abstract expressionist.  From an ideological point of view, it is an interesting and provocative combination, worthy of the discussion I hope to give it. Visually, though, it is nolo contendere. Read More 

Be the first to comment