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Report from the Front

Art criticism, sometimes with context, occasional politics. New shows: "events;" how to support the online edition: "works."



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 

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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 

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