icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Report from the Front

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



Frank Bowling (b.1934), Flogging the Dead Donkey, 2020. Acrylic and acrylic gel on canvas with marouflage, 102.5 x 185.5 x 5 cm.(40 3/8 x 73 x 2 in). (c)Frank Bowling, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Photo Thomas Barratt


The last time this column looked at the art of Frank Bowling, this prodigious painter, was on June 29, 2019, when David Evison, the British sculptor, reviewed his memorable retrospective at Tate/Britain.  Since that time, Queen Elizabeth has knighted him, and as "Sir Frank" he has graduated from the relative obscurity of the Hales gallery to the big leagues of Hauser & Wirth.  


His new gallery is honoring him with two shows -- both titled "Frank Bowling – London/New York."  The London one is at its Savile Row space and closes on July 31, while the New York one is at its Chelsea space and closes on July 30.


I only review shows that I can see, so I must confine my remarks to the New York show. However, I am delighted to be able to welcome to this website a review of Bowling's London show by Evison..


Herewith is the report from Evison on the London show of Bowling:


"Hauser & Wirth is situated on the ground floor of a new Savile Row building and has direct access from the street.  On entering, one is confronted by a 9 ft. x 6 ft. painting and the desk is situated to the right of it.  Hung high above it is a medium sized painting which is a masterpiece.  It is called, "Flogging the Dead Donkey." Read More 

Post a comment


"Frank Bowling: London/New York," Hauser & Wirth New York 22nd Street, 2021 (c)Frank Bowling, Photo:Thomas Barratt. "Texas Louise" at right.

Herewith my own review of Bowling's New York show -- which I seem to have liked less than Evison liked the London show --at least until I started to take it picture by picture.


I started out feeling that this  was not my favorite Bowling show.  The man's a great painter, but his work in this case has been "edited" in a way that makes him appear less rather than more great. At any rate, that's my opinion, though admittedly it's only an opinion and I'm sure I'm in the minority (as usual).  Read More 

Be the first to comment


Morris Louis (American 1912-1962), "Mira." 1962. Acrylic on canvas, 82.52 x 32.99 inches, 209.6 x 83.8cm. Photography, Jason Mandella.


At Yares Art, on Fifth Avenue 34 blocks south of the Jewish Museum, we have two eminently satisfactory exhibitions of more recent abstract art. The first is "Larry Poons/Frank Stella: As It Was/As It Is." The second is "Fields of Color III" (both through July 31).  They afford a contrast that parallels my own development as a writer on abstraction. The first show equates to a period before I'd awakened to abstraction, and before I'd met either artist.  The second represents a period after I'd met them both, and after Bill Rubin had sensitized me to abstraction--though much of the work in it was also done prior to the spring of 1968 (when Rubin effected this sensitization). Read More 

Post a comment


Installation shot, "Modern Look" at The Jewish Museum


As I was raised in an era when the word "modern" was commonly supposed to  mean the latest and most adventurous style around, I was naturally eager to see "Modern Look: Photography and the American Magazine" at The Jewish Museum (through July 11).  However, this elaborately-installed show of 150 works including vintage photographs, art book layouts and magazine cover designs from the 1930s, '40s and '50s offers a very different view of that era from the one I myself experienced as a child, a younger journalist and a more mature scholar.   Though I'm sure this new exhibition was carefully planned, and affords a wealth of technical information that I never knew before, visually I found it far less appealing than I was expecting upon the basis of my own knowledge of the three magazines it centers around.


 Read More 

Post a comment


Willem de Kooning, "Woman," c. 1950.  Graphite and wax crayon on paperboard, double sided, 13 1/8 x 10 inches (33 x 25 cm).  Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.  © 2021 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


I don't know when I saw a neat, lovingly precise pencil drawing of Elaine de Kooning created ca. 1940-41 by Willem de Kooning.  Was it 1968, when one such drawing was reproduced in the catalogue to MoMA's de Kooning retrospective of that year? Or has it – or another like it -- been displayed more recently? 


Anyway, I hoped to re-view it, and/or see other drawings of women like it, when I visited "Willem de Kooning Drawings" at Matthew Marks (through June 26).  I didn't see it, or anything like it, but two later drawings of women led me to award de Kooning a title that he might not have liked, but that his postmodernist fans should appreciate: "Step-Dad of Pop" Read More 

Be the first to comment