an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

The Things You Find Behind Doors, Like A Velazquez

In recent days, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston has rehung a painting called Kitchen Maid (c. 1620) with a new label, “attributed to Velazquez.” The work used to hang in its decorative arts mansion, Rienzi, partially blocked by a door! At that point, it was labeled “in the style of Diego Velázquez.” It […]

Art Reviews–Or Observations–That Go Beyond

People regularly complain that art criticism displays an off-putting insider-y tone, complete with jargon–but that’s not what I am about to talk about here. I’m going to mention a few display touches and the like that I notice, when they are good, at exhibitions that I review but rarely–for space reasons–have the opportunity to write […]

Glenstone: It’s Wonderful, Marvelous. BUT

Glenstone, the private museum owned and operated by Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales, opened to the public on Oct. 4–heralded by a beautifully choreographed  campaign of press. There were preview articles and reviews, accompanied in all likelihood by more to come in other publications. I was one of the lucky one who visited Glenstone, in […]

This May Be the Best Monument to Caesar Augustus

Reputedly, the last public words of Caesar Augustus (63 B.C.-A.D. 14) were “Behold, I found Rome of clay, and leave her to you of marble.” Augustus also left us a magnificent, exquisitely carved cameo whose double-narrative all but deifies him. It is the Gemma Augustea in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which […]

Rembrandt: Master Market Manipulator

Rembrandt: Painter as Printmaker, which opened Sept. 16 at the Denver Art Museum, showcases the known glories of his work—but with an eye-opening twist. It displays Rembrandt a master market manipulator, as well as a great artist. We know, but rarely acknowledge in exhibitions, that many great artists were good at business too. Certainly, Renoir […]

Surprising (But Short) Chapter of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Life

Several days ago, I went to the New York Botanical Garden to see its summer exhibition, Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i. It included several paintings I knew nothing about. And, as I soon discovered, from talking with friends and posts on Facebook and Instagram, neither did many other art-lovers. This isn’t all that surprising when you […]

Superlative Numbers At the Met. But Crazy Ones Too

Superlatives are in. Last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art issued a press release saying it had welcomed its one-millionth visitor to its special Costume Institute exhibition, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination–proclaiming it, weeks before the show closes, “the Costume Institute’s most attended show ever and The Met’s third overall most attended” exhibit. Really? […]

Giving Hedda Sterne Another Chance

Hedda Sterne is not a name you hear very often, so I was pleased last spring when I learned that the Amon Carter Museum of American Art was giving her a solo exhibition. It would be a small one, and of lithographs, not paintings, but still I wanted to see it. We’re in a moment […]

Sargent With A Local Twist And Double Narrative

The Art Institute of Chicago’s major summer exhibition, John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age, is probably a crowd-pleaser–though I haven’t checked the numbers. Sargent is usually a big draw–I remember when, to cite one example, the show of his watercolors at the Brooklyn Museum outdrew a large show of El Anatsui, which was a […]

YBAs of the 19th Century

You will recall the hubbub created in London (and elsewhere) by the Young British Artists in the late 1980s and ’90s–led by Damien Hirst and including Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, Fiona Rae, and Steve Park, among others, they rebelled against the art world’s customs. Their 19th Century counterparts were, of course, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, led […]

an ArtsJournal blog