an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

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 […]

How To Be a Great Museum Trustee

What kind of museum donor hosts a visit in her home with the museum’s director, as she is nearing death, and asks him to read aloud the list of artworks in her final bequest? What kind of donor had let the previous director choose which works the museum would want and then, when it was […]

The Worcester “Slavery” Label Controversy

I’ve been pondering the recent action of the Worcester Art Museum–to include information on new labels in its early American portrait gallery,about each sitter’s relationship with slavery, if any, ever since I first learned of it about six weeks ago. After reading many other opinions, I’ve now come to my own conclusion. I don’t agree […]

Want a Spanish Art Surprise? There’s One In San Antonio

So you think you know Spanish art? You’ve been to the Prado and the Hispanic Society, etc., etc. and you’re pretty familiar with it. Unless, of course, you are a real expert in the Spanish art, an exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art should suggest otherwise. To cel­e­brate San An­to­nio’s found­ing 300 years […]

The Museum and the Narrative: Too Political?

Tomorrow is Canada Day, and the Art Gallery of Ontario is marking it with the opening of new galleries of art made in Canada that will, for the first time, give primacy to indigenous art–at least in its J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous and Canadian Art—to whose name “indigenous” was added just last year, btw. The Centre […]

Color Wins The Day At the Cooper-Hewitt

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color, now on view, is exactly the kind of exhibition I expect and like to see from the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum–which, frankly, came as a bit of a surprise. Since the Cooper Hewitt reopened in 2014 after a three-year renovation,  it has been a bit of a […]

My Art Encounter With Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe, who died this week, was not exactly a favorite person in the art world (or the literary world, for that matter). In a modern era, he was a throwback, a man who preferred realism of a particular kind. And on that score, I have a little story to tell about Wolfe.  Back in 2006, […]

A Little Masterpiece in Central Asia

There are many reasons to visit Uzbekistan, which I did last fall. As usual, I brought back a Masterpiece column for The Wall Street Journal. It describes and explains the Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara. The little structure not only survived the 13th Century marauder Ghengis Khan but also many earthquakes and other natural shifts: now […]

Is TEFAF New York A Success? UPDATED

That depends on how you measure success. There was a lot of doubt and even some worry that TEFAF, the world’s best art fair, would not be able to make a go of it here in New York, or that if it did somehow do that, the main fair in Maastricht would suffer. After two […]

an ArtsJournal blog