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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."

 

FOREVER FRESH: KANDINSKY AT THE GUGGENHEIM

Vasily Kandinsky, Black Lines (Schwarze Linien), December 1913. Oil on canvas, 51 3/8 x 51 5/8 inches (130.5 x 131.1 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift 37.241

 

Nowadays when you say Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, everybody thinks of Frank Lloyd Wright's wedding cake design.  But before then, it was the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, in which Peggy Guggenheim's Uncle Sol indulged the passion of his principal advisor, the Baroness Hilla Von Rebay and her sometime boyfriend, Rudolf Bauer, for the art of Vasily Kandinsky (1866-1944).  In all, the Guggenheim today owns 67 paintings by that Russian-born master, plus several hundred of his works on paper. And it has put approximately 80 of his paintings, watercolors, and woodcuts, as well as a selection of his illustrated books, on long-term display in the upper reaches of its rotunda.  The show is called "Vasily Kandinsky: Around the Circle" and it offers a signal opportunity to reacquaint oneself with this most original and memorable Older Master (through September 5, 2022). Read More 

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SUMMERTIME AT THE GUGGENHEIM

Installation View: Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris,1892–1897. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 30–October 4, 2017. Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2017.
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…for museums sometimes, too. They can economize with shows that blasé New Yorkers might turn up their noses at – since tourists are the principal visitors at almost any Manhattan museum in July & August…..and sometimes these summer shows are worth seeing, too, even for New Yorkers—as is the case with a trio of exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum…. Read More 
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KANDINSKY AT THE NEUE GALERIE

Vassily Kandinsky. Composition V. 1911. Oil on canvas. Private Collection.
Another grand show with extra appeal for modernists is “Vassily Kandinsky: From Blaue Reiter to the Bauhaus, 1910-1925” at the Neue Galerie (through February 10).

As organized by Dr. Jill Lloyd (an art historian who has already organized several shows for the Neue Galerie), this exhibition includes over 80 works, including paintings, drawings, watercolors and decorative objects. Read More 
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"INVENTING ABSTRACTION" REVISITED

Kazimir Malevich. Zhivopisnyi realizm mal'chika s rantsem - krasochnye massy v 4-m izmerenii. (Painterly realism of a boy with a knapsack -- color masses in the 4th dimension). 1915. Oil on canvas, 28 x 17 1/2 inches (71.1 x 44.5 cm.). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1935. Acquisition confirmed in 1999 by agreement with the estate of Kazimir Malevich and made possible with funds from the Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest (by exchange). Photo courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, Imaging and Visual Resources Department, John Wronn.
In January, I paid my first call on “Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925” at the Museum of Modern Art” (through April 15). This is a most ambitious show, dedicated (as it says in the press release) to exploring “the advent of abstraction as both a historical idea and an emergent artistic practice.” It  Read More 
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