Frankenthaler Reminder (Tag: ‘Right-Wing’)

I haven't read each and every worshipful Helen Frankenthaler obit, but of those I have seen, only the Los Angeles Times version mentions that she was one of those responsible for gutting the National Endowment for the Arts, especially the visual part: eliminating direct grants to artists.  She worked with those who earlier had defunded those pathetic hangers-on, art critics. Frankenthaler was proud of her conservative stance, as this 1989 piece by her in the New York Times opinion section makes clear. A sample: "I feel there was a time when … [Read more...]

MoMA Raises Price Again, Slits Own Throat Again

No Art

On September 1, walk-in admission for adults at New York's Museum of Modern Art goes from $20 to $25, from $12 to $14 for students. Art lovers under 16 are still free, and here's the press release. First, transparency: yours truly has done and still does freelance work for the museum. Yet I'm sure you know where I come down on this. MoMA is a business, a not-for-profit business to be sure, but still, a business should never chase customers away. Perhaps its tax-exemption should be applied on a sliding scale: the higher the price of … [Read more...]

Newspaper Fate


Do you want to pay for your newswith dead trees or the predation of oil? In this case, the form of payment itself makes news. The news corpus above is part of a new artwork by Gustav Metzger shown in a small basement space in New York's Lower East Side. E-flux, at 41 Essex St., is right near not one but two Orthodox Jewish ephemera shops and the Pickle Guys, where school kids line up for half-sours among barrels of brined turnips and pineapple chunks. At e-flux, "the viewer is invited to cut out articles related to the topics 'credit crunch,' … [Read more...]

My Balenciaga Moment

More than 30 years ago, the creator of "Out There" slowly strode down a beach-house staircase in a black-tulle '50s Balenciaga. It fit him like the glove his then-thin body required, deserved. Never had a shirt or pair of pants supported and caressed him in such a way, as if it were a fabric lover. Drag wasn't even close to the point; no hairy surfaces were threatened by the primal relationship between his static carcass and that mobile dress. As he descended, the gown's original partner viewed her errant garment and its new mate with … [Read more...]

Is “Downtown” Dead?

The art world isn't the same. New dance is derivative; fashion's faded; there's been nothing major in American theater since Albee.When one is in a graveyard mood, it seems as if all our blood has long since flowed under the bridge. Yet poets make hay from just such Margaret R U Grieving moments, and critics may too, especially with shows like the one now at New York's Grey Gallery to spur us."Downtown Pix: Mining the Fales Archives 1961-1991" took me and photographer friend Robin Holland on a melancholy trip back to the East Village and … [Read more...]

Larry Sultan, 1946-2009

                                                                                                   Photo ©Mike Mandel and/or Larry SultanThe photo above is a piece of Evidence, a slim book by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel that is photography's calling card to the world of Conceptual Art.Any … [Read more...]

Next Round: Bill Viola Versus the Pope

Who Would Expect a Video Artist To Be a Hero?   Every week's cultural and political news is actually a puzzle to be solved, a jigsaw set with antagonistic pieces. Here's one part of the puzzle that I find heartening, though others may not. is an auction and art-market site that also has a kind of magazine attached, Late last week the mag lifted part of a story almost verbatim from Catholic New Service. I myself will borrow the beginning of the original: Pope Benedict XVI has invited hundreds of artists to meet with him in the … [Read more...]

Blossom and Rose

I've been away, at least in a writer way, for a few months. So I'd like to say hello again, and, as a welcoming offering, link to two of my recent pieces, both posted on the website Obit Mag. The first, which was spurred by artsjournal fellow blogger Tyler Green, took advantage of my fury about the threatened dissolution of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, my alma mater. The second is a small bouquet tossed at that irresistible bohemian spirit of intelligent romance, Blossom Dearie, who died on Saturday. More to come... For an … [Read more...]