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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."



Installation view, 'David Smith. Follow My Path,' Hauser & Wirth New York, 69th Street, 2021. Courtesy the Estate of David Smith and Hauser & Wirth. © 2021 The Estate of David Smith / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo: Thomas Barratt
Shown: "The Hero"and "Study for 'The Hero'"


"David Smith: Follow My Path" is the name of the latest look at that master sculptor, currently at the East 69th Street branch of Hauser & Wirth (through July 31). Taking its name from a lecture that Smith (1906-1965) gave at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1962, it turns out to be a learning experience for the viewer, much as it must have been for the artist himself. Read More 

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David Smith. Origins & Innovations, Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street 13 November – 23 December. Foreground: "Three Circles Related" (left), and "Agricola VIII" (right). © The Estate of David Smith Courtesy The Estate of David Smith and Hauser & Wirth Photo: Genevieve Hanson
In the home stretch for the holidays, I saw five gallery exhibitions displaying a wide range of talents – most of which I liked, but also some that I didn’t. They were 1) “Painter/Printmaker: Spirit of Collaboration,” at Freedmanart (through January 20); 2) Rudolf Stingel at Gagosian on Madison Avenue (through December 22), 3) “In the Balance,” at Gallery Gaia (through December 30, open weekends 2 to 7 pm except December 24), 4) “Ardent Nature: Arshile Gorky Landscapes, 1943 – 47” at Hauser & Wirth on East 69th Street (through December 23), and 5) “David Smith: Origins & Innovations,” at Hauser & Wirth on West 22nd Street (through December 23). Read More 
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David Smith Courtyard at the Royal Academy. Photo © David Parry, Royal Academy of Arts
David Evison, the British sculptor, has attended “Abstract Expressionism," the mammoth exhibition focusing primarily on the first generation of American abstract expressionists, at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. It was curated by David Anfam, independent scholar, and Edith Devaney, of the R.A., and will be on through January 2, 2017. Evison attended with Jennifer Durrant, the British painter who is an RA herself, so they were able to get into the show before the general public. Here is his somewhat staccato, breathless report, with only minor emendations by myself--PH. Read More 
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Edward Avedisian, Normal Love #1, 1963. Liquitex on canvas, 67 1/4 x 67 1/2 inches. Courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York.
There was a time when the Manhattan art world was much smaller, and one movement could sweep across a large segment of it (though never commanding its entirety).

An example of this was the switch from painterly abstract expressionism to what Clement Greenberg called “post-painterly abstraction.” Though it received only a fraction of the publicity accorded pop, it was the guiding principle in  Read More 
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Ed Clark, "Untitled," 2004. Acrylic on canvas, 77 x 51 1/4 inches. EC 110. Photo Courtesy the Artist and Tilton Gallery, NY.
Having been busy with domestic activities, I’ve let 4 worthy shows go until they were over, or nearly over. Now I must catch up. The 4 I’ll discuss are “David Smith: The Forgings” at Gagosian (Madison Avenue) (closed January 11); “Hans Hofmann” at Ameringer McEnery Yohe (closed January 25); “Larry Poons: New Paintings” at Danese Corey (closing February 8) and “Ed Clark: Big Bang” at Jack Tilton, now at 8 East 76th Street (through February 22). Read More 
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Theodoros Stamos (1922-1997). Ancestral Worship, 1947. 48.9 (c) Estate of Theodoros Stamos.
A reproduction of “The Beach” (1955), by William Baziotes, one of the original but lesser-known first generation abstract expressionists, accompanied a review in the July 27 NY Times by Ken Johnson of “Signs & Symbols” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Though the review didn’t send me up the wall with delight, it made me want  Read More 
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David Smith (1906-1965). 17 h's. 1950. Painted steel. 44 1/2 x 29 x 12 1/2 in. (113 x 73.7 x 31.8 cm). The Estate of David Smith (c)The Estate of David Smith/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Photo courtesy of the Estate of David Smith, photo by David Heald.
“Procrustean” is the word that came away with me from seeing “David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy” at the Whitney Museum of American Art (through January 8). For the benefit of those without a classical education, Procrustes was a nasty old guy in Greek mythology who kept a hostel of some sort by the wayside and  Read More 
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