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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."

 

MEXICANS & YANQUIS AT THE WHITNEY: GOOD-LOOKING DISPLAY

José Clemente Orozco, Zapatistas, 1931. Oil on canvas, 45 × 55 in. (114.3 ×
139.7 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York; given anonymously. ©
2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City. Digital
image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

 

 

At the Whitney Museum of American Art we have "Vida Americana: Mexican  Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945" (through January 31, 2021).  This is a large and diverse exhibition of approximately 200 works by 60 artists from Mexico and the United States. It aims to show how that curious blend of populism and modernism that developed in Mexico in the wake of its early 20th century political revolution influenced artists in the United States in the period between 1925 and 1945.

 

Visually, there is a lot to like in this show, and I recommend it for that reason.  But don't go expecting any attempt to recreate the full range of U.S. art & culture in the period under discussion. Rather, we get the usual conformity to 21st century verities.

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THE GUGGENHEIM RE-OPENS: POLLOCK'S "MURAL"

Jackson Pollock, Mural, 1943. Oil and casein on canvas, 242.9 x 603.9 cm. University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6 © 2020 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
 

…..And so the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan has re-opened, though you need to be virus-free, reserve a ticket in advance,  wear a mask, and observe social distancing.  I did all this (or at least I think I did) for the media preview on October 3.  Principally, I came to see "Mural" (1943), the first painting by Jackson Pollock that convinced Clement Greenberg that the artist was truly great.  On the way in and out, however, I got brief glimpses of three other shows, so I will mention them in passing before zeroing in on my visit's real raison d'être.

 

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"EPIC ABSTRACTION" AT THE MET: FROM A BANG TO A WHIMPER

Carmen Herrera (Cuban, born 1915). Equilibrio, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 60 in. (121.9 × 152.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Promised Gift of Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky, © Carmen Herrera

 

 

"Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera" opened at The Metropolitan Museum of Art  on December 17, 2018, but is "ongoing."  By this the Met means that it isn't one of its usually admirable big loan shows but only a  rehanging on those galleries that the museum previously devoted to its permanent collection of first- and second-generation abstract expressionists.  Read More 

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WELCOME RE-RUN: POLLOCK PRINTS AT WASHBURN

Jackson Pollock, Untitled, 1074 (P14), c. 1944, printed 1967.  Engraving and drypoint on white Italia paper, ed. 11/50.  Sheet: 20 1/6 x 13 13/16 in.   Image: 11 7/8 x 10 in.

 

I am happy to report that at Washburn in Chelsea you may see seven engravings and drypoint and six screen prints by Jackson Pollock.  The show is entitled "Jackson Pollock: The Graphic Works" and its run has been extended through March 9.

 

This is essentially the same show of Pollock graphics that premiered at the Guild Hall in East Hampton over the summer of 2017 and that I reviewed then.

 

However, if you didn't get to see that show (and even if you did), you will enjoy these elegant little works.  It is also worth noting that the big show "Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera" at the Met begins with a display that combines Pollock's huge painting "Autumn Rhythm" with a bunch of drawings and argues (however tenuously) that Pollock is really all about drawing -- which as we all know is the next thing to prints.

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PLEASURABLE POLLOCK PRINTS & AVEDON PHOTOS AT THE GUILD HALL IN EAST HAMPTON

Jackson Pollock, Untitled, CR1082 (P19) c. 1944-45. Printed in 1967. Engraving and drypoint on white Italia paper. Edition 11/50. Sheet: 19 13/16 x 27 ¼ inches. Courtesy Washburn Gallery, New York, and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation.
Still catching up on summer highlights, I gave you two shows for which I abandoned the Big Apple on August 19, “Jackson Pollock: The Graphic Works,” and “Avedon’s America” both at the Guild Hall in East Hampton (and both through October 9). Although the second show reminded me of my middle-brow childhood, and the first, of my (somewhat more) high-brow adulthood, both furnished a wealth of pleasure. Read More 
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POLLOCK AT MOMA: THE BEST SHOW IN NEW YORK

Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956). Gothic. 1944. Oil on canvas, 7’ 5/8” x 56” (215.5 x 142.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Bequest of Lee Krasner, 1984. © 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Maybe it’s because I’m so old-fashioned, or maybe it’s because I just know quality when I see it, but anyway for me, the best show in New York right now is “Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934 – 1954” at the Museum of Modern Art (through May 1).  Read More 
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STOCKING STUFFER?

Jackson Pollock Painting "Autumn Rhythm." Photo by Hans Namuth, (c) Hans Namuth Ltd.
Maybe you have a friend with a five-foot shelf of every book about Jackson Pollock ever written. Or maybe you have a friend who doesn’t know much about Pollock but seems to be interested and would like to know more.

Or maybe you have a friend who falls somewhere between these two extremes,  Read More 
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TWO OUT OF THREE AT THE EAST END

William Glackens (American, 1870-1938). Far from the Fresh Air Farm: The Crowded City Street, with its Dangers and Temptations, Is a Pitiful Makeshift Playground for Children. 1911. Crayon heightened with watercolor on paper, 24 12/ x 16 1/2 inches. Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Bequest of Ira Glackens, 91.41.152
I didn’t get to the Hamptons until August this year, but that was all to the good, as three stellar exhibitions had only recently opened—and will be up into October. One’s on three dealers who represented Jackson Pollock in the 40s and 50s, one’s on that stalwart impressionist of “The 8,” William Glackens, and one displays early work by Robert Motherwell. In this posting, I’ll deal with the first two: all three are equally worthy, but I just don’t have time to write about all of them at present.

“POLLOCK’S CHAMPIONS”

The show that chronicles Pollock’s three major dealers is, not surprisingly, at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, in The Springs of East Hampton. It’s titled “Pollock’s Champions,” and was organized by Bobbi Coller, PhD, guest curator (through October 31). As Coller observes, in her introductory wall text, “An artist’s relationship with his or her dealer is an unusual and complex partnership,” and certainly “much more than a business agreement.”  Read More 
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AHOY FOR THE HAMPTONS

Parrish Art Museum, view from west. Image (c) Hufton and Crow.
The Number One topic of conversation in the Hamptons this summer isn’t the weather or the celebrities but the traffic. As the lamentable result of too many recent settlers, my jitney was an hour late getting out to Southampton on a Friday in late July, but, once I got there, I had a pleasant weekend.  Read More 
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CHRISTMAS BONUSES

Dan Christensen (1942-2007). Sarajevo, 1969. Acrylic on canvas, 83 x 53 inches. Courtesy Spanierman Modern, New York
For hardy souls who can face the rigors of mid-town Manhattan, I recommend two shows within two blocks of each other: “Dan Christensen: The Early Sprays, 1967-1969,” at Spanierman Modern, on East 58th Street, and “Jackson Pollock: A Centennial Exhibition,” at Jason McCoy, in the Fuller Building. But  Read More 
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