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MeTube: MoMA’s Ab-Ex Show as Curator Ann Temkin Views It

Jackson Pollock’s “Number 7, 1950,” seen through David Smith’s “Australia” (detail), at MoMA’s Ab-Ex showWith my typing fingers entangled in ribbons of red tape (related to my late father’s estate) I won’t have time today to give you my extended take the Museum of Modern Art’s artistically rich but interpretively disappointing Abstract Expressionist New York show, which opens on Sunday and has already garnered mixed, jump-the-gun reviews.Whatever you think of the for-beginners-only wall texts and labels, you can’t help being wowed by the artworks and their installation—many intriguing juxtapositions, along with powerful single-artist concentrations.
I’ve also perused the Guggenheim’s museum-fillingChaos and Classicism that opened today to less publicity. This brilliantly elucidated, ambitious but artistically uneven show merits attention for its incisive scholarly commentary and its in-depth presentation of a little explored but disturbing area of political history and art history—France, Germany and Italy between the two World Wars and the allure of a “return to order” after World War I’s devastation.Just to show that I’ve been on the scene (if not on the blog), here’s my press-preview video of Ann Temkin, MoMA’schief curator of painting and sculpture, describing insights she gained by viewing her own agglomeration of some 250 works (many dusted off from storage) from MoMA’s permanent collection.

As I turn my camera on David Smith‘s “Australia” while Temkin discusses it, you’ll not only see a Jackson Pollock peeking through the sculpture’s apertures; you’ll also spot the head of MoMA’s director, Glenn Lowry framed by Smith’s drawing-in-air:

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