The House Detective: Very Small Japanese Houses

Atelier Tekuto, Mineral House 2012

                            Small is new. And the interest in small houses is global. Small is serious. The causes are economic, ecological, and in some places the need to skirt onerous building codes. Locally, garages turned into studios or storage units and the proliferation of out-buildings can be noted in suburbia and even in the outer boroughs of New York City. It is not that we need less … [Read more...]

An Unkind Cut: Art of Another Kind at the Guggenheim

Yves Klein: Large Blue Anthropometry,1960

                              “Art of Another Kind: International Abstraction and the Guggenheim, 1949—1960” (Guggenheim Museum to Sept. 12) consists primarily of artworks collected by the Guggenheim before the 1959 opening of its Frank Lloyd Wright building on Fifth Avenue. This odd and in some ways adventurous exhibition is a trip back in time, a survey of works promoted by … [Read more...]

Chelsea Walk: How to Succeed in Art Criticism Without Really Trying.

Joseph Nechvatal: asstrOnOmnical affected autOmata, 2011

                      1. NEVER USE THE FIRST PERSON. In in the late ‘60s, art critic Lawrence Alloway said that, like the poet Apollinaire, I was of the peripatetic school of art criticism. When, in ancient times, I was writing for the Village Voice I walked around looking at art and made it seem part of ordinary life. He did not mean I was Aristotelian, for the same term is used for Aristotle’s … [Read more...]

Clyfford Still: In the Still of the Night

1954 PH-1123fixed

                          Way Out West...  Since I was in the Denver area, I decided I just had to see the Clyfford Still Museum that opened late last year. Mark Van Wagner and I finished the installation of our travelling show, “Drawing from Sand,” in one day flat, so there was some breathing room. I call it “a small show with a global impact.” Van Wagner and I  met through Facebook … [Read more...]

Cindy Sherman: Against Photography


  Since one critic has already deemed Cindy Sherman “the successor to Cézanne, Picasso, Pollock and Warhol,” I feel I am free to delve into other things. The headline to his preview panegyric was The Last Star, so one of these days I will have to write a pithy essay explaining why we don’t need any more stars, thank you; and the last great artist is me. The need for heroes or heroines is perennial, even in something as pure and as uplifting as art. Upon the occasion of the … [Read more...]

Hirst Hits the Spot


                    International art-star Damien Hirst, who in the late-'80s helped incite the Young British Artists fracas, has produced vitrine art (sharks and other taxidermist beasties suspended in formaldehyde), spin paintings, spot paintings, medicine cabinets, butterfly collages, and bad Bacons. Only the latter have been deemed total failures. But stick around. They will be back. In his poly-headed oeuvre … [Read more...]



  Can artworks survive once they have fallen out of fashion? Or no longer inspire further art? Are off the grid? Are not part of the ongoing dialogue, but come across, if at all, as dead ends? As orphans, bachelors, old maids? Roberto Matta (1911-2002) at Pace to Jan. 28, Diego Rivera (1886-1957) at MoMA to May 14, and Francis Picabia (1897-1953) at Michael Werner to Jan. 14 were each at one point vital to the art life, so probably deserve a new … [Read more...]


In the world's first and only art criticism cartoon, John Perreault's art cops instigate, investigate, insinuate, cogitate, agitate. Who provided bail? Who were they working for? Whose side are they on?     To sample John Perreault’s  sand paintings you may preview  online the Kauai Museum catalog for Mark Van Wagner and John Perreault: Drawing from Sand, with a short essay by art critic Peter Frank.  Click  Here.  The exhibition runs from Nov. 12 to Jan. 20 in Lihue, HI. … [Read more...]

Why Artists Fail: Sherrie Levine and Maurizio Cattelan


        Surely we all agree that artists are the center of art, if not the art world. In order to get more artworks out of them, we try to be kind and as far as possible let them call the shots. High hopes are endemic. Nevertheless, sometimes gallerists, curators, and critics are more talented than the artists they serve. When an artist verges on megalomania, failure is likely. Even Picasso listened to gallerists, curators, and critics. Maybe not enough, but … [Read more...]


John Perreault as Van Gogh in Les Levine's Analyse Lovers, The Story of Vincent, 1990. Still from video.

  A new biography, Van Gogh: The Life, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, suggests Vincent did not commit suicide, but was shot by a perky local of 16 named René Secrétan, who was wearing a cowboy costume. The bullet's trajectory showed the shot could not have been self-inflicted and had to have been fired from afar. But if this is true, why did Vincent protect his assassin? The bully had been tormenting him for months by putting salt in his coffee and setting up fake … [Read more...]