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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."



Joan Miró, Personnage et oiseau [Personage and Bird], 1966. Bronze (sand and lost wax casting), Cast 3/5. Edition of 6 casts, Fundició Parellada, Barcelona.18 ¾ x 10 ¼ x 7 7/8 inches (47.5 x 26 x 20 cm). © 2020 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

We all know and love the young Joan Miró (1893-1983).  He was the brightest star in the surrealist firmament that graced Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, whether it was with his wickedly witty paintings or his serenely lunatic "poetic objects." But what of his later work?  Only a few of the paintings from after World War II measure up, but I found many happy divertissements among the 20 artfully patinated bronze sculptures made between 1966 and 1974 by this versatile Catalan artist and on view in "Miró the Sculptor: Elements of Nature," at Acquavella (through February 29). Read More 

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Joan Miró. The Hunter (Catalan Landscape). Montroig, July 1923-winter 1924. Oil on canvas. 25 1/2 x 39 1/2″ (64.8 x 100.3 cm). Purchase. © 2018 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris



Recently, I joined the milling throngs visiting the Museum of Modern Art on a free Friday evening to view "Joan Miró: The Birth of the World" (through June 15). On view are approximately 60 works by the master Spanish surrealist (1893-1983), almost all from the museum's permanent collection, and tracing his career from 1917 to the mid-1950s. 


I suppose he qualifies as a hero to postmodernists because he belonged to an underprivileged ethnic minority.  But hey, if they want to make a fetish of him, it's quite okay with me.  For he was a wonderfully wise, witty and whimsical artist -- one of the all-time greats. Read More 

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Joan Miró, "Femmes au bord du lac à la surface irisée par le passage d’un cygne (Women at the Edge of the Lake Made Iridescent by the Passage of a Swan)," Palma de Mallorca, May 14, 1941. Gouache and oil wash on paper, 18 1/8 x 15 inches (46 x 38 cm). Private Collection. © 2017 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
I suffer from anti-snob snobbery. I fight it as some shows & venues have good art despite being chic. Brooklyn additionally irks me because our mayor, Bill de Blasio, boasts of being a Brooklynite and wouldn’t move into Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s elegant official residence in Manhattan, for donkey’s years. Here, however, I will report on five Brooklyn shows and two in Manhattan. What do they prove? We shall see. Read More 
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Max Ernst (1891-1976). Le start du châtaigner (The Start of the Chestnut Tree), 1925. Frottage with graphite pencil, and gouache. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Gift of Walter Feilchenfeldt in honor of Eugene and Clare Thaw, 2011.28 (c) 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP Paris. Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2012.
Occasionally, a show is mounted that neither stirs me personally nor makes me feel that most of my readers would want to see it, but that I still feel deserves a review (even if I am not the right person to write it). Why? Because so much time & effort & maybe even love have gone into its creation, and because Read More 
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A number of shows that I’ve seen in the past month merit attention, mostly because of their quality (though sometimes for other reasons).

At the top of this list is “Divine Influence: Past and Present” at Wilmer Jennings (through December 31). Billed as “contemporary abstract art and items from the Merton D. Simpson Read More 
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