At Mnuchin on East 78th Street we have "Church & Rothko: Sublime" (through March 13). This show combines 17 small- to medium-sized paintings by Frederic E. Church (1826-1900), the second-generation Hudson River School painter, with eight medium-sized to large paintings by Mark Rothko (1903-1970), the first-generation abstract expressionist. From an ideological point of view, it is an interesting and provocative combination, worthy of the discussion I hope to give it. Visually, though, it is nolo contendere. Read More
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."
One historical show I related to – indeed, strongly related – was "Globalism Pops Back Into View: The Rise of Abstract Expressionism," at Michael Rosenfeld (closed January 25).
This gallery has two specialties, abstract expressionism and African-American art. By focusing on ab-ex in the early 1940s, before the movement went totally abstract, this show was also able to include a number of distinguished African-American artists who not even by the 1950s had gone totally abstract, but who created some powerful paintings nevertheless. In this context, everybody looks perfectly grand. Read More
"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
I couldn't face all those talks at the annual conference of the College Art Association this year, but as the conference was held in Manhattan, I did mosey on down to the New York Hilton to enjoy the Smithsonian's reception for its alumni and to look at the CAA's book exhibits. As with the art world as a whole, postmodernism and identity politics for the most part upstaged esthetics, both in the choice of subjects for books and in the way that these subjects were dealt with, but still I found a handful of tomes that interested me and that I would have bought had I a) the money b) the space to put them in and c) the time to do them justice by reading them carefully and all the way through. Read More
"The 'Color Fields' show at Deutsche Guggenheim is a breath of fresh air for Berlin, Read More