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A Question to Nobelist Kandel Reveals A Big Gap At the Met

Last week, I was honored to sit opposite Nobel-prize winner/neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel at a small dinner. Kandel, seeking to understand how memory works, figured it out by studying its physiological basis in the cells of sea slugs. For that, he won the Nobel in 2000. More recently, he has turned some of his attention to […]

ArtPrize Matures: The People Vs. Experts

In its sixth incarnation, ArtPrize–the open competition in which the public chooses the winners–is trying a new tack. Not only will experts also weigh in separately–as they have in the past–but also their choice will receive a grand award prize of equal size, $200,000, the same as the public. This is good, more about which […]

Crystal Bridges: The Anti-Whitney-Biennial

Saturday is the day. That’s when the art world, which has been wondering what Don Bacigalupi, president of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and assistant curator Chad Alligood have been seeing for the better part of 2013 and much of 2014 on their search for underappreciated artists, will find out. That’s when the museum […]

Artisan: Anyone For Fake Wood?

Or, the more elegant term, faux bois? Faux bois furniture and furnishings are made of concrete to look like real wood. It’s a 19th century art that is, in some circles, making a bit of a comeback. False, it seems, lasts longer than the real, which is prone to decay. It works especially well in […]

“Anonymous” Women, Once Again

It’s that time of year — actually, it’s a little past that time of year — when the Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation makes public the ten female artists who will receive $25,000 no strings attached, just to support them. This is the 19th set of winners  — and I was there at the creation, sort […]

American Art Bonanza Left By Richard Mellon Scaife

Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, scion of two wealthy families, died on July 4, leaving a large art collection — apparently — to two small Pennsylvania Museums. Scaife’s attorney called the art collection “expansive.” And according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review — which Scaife owned: The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg and Brandywine Conservancy near Philadelphia will […]

Back To Koons: More Food For Thought

So far, the most thoughtful review I’ve read of the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney is by Thomas Micchelli of Hyperallergic Weekend. It starts well, noting that excepting the vacuum cleaners, “…The rest of the work, however, with few exceptions, reveals itself to be as thin, puerile and derivative as the artist’s harshest critics […]

Koons: One Big Show In More Ways Than One

I’ve never seen a press preview like the one I attended today. The Whitney was unveiling its Jeff Koons retrospective. When I arrived, safely 10 minutes or so after the doors opened, the line of press people extended around the corner. Inside was packed too. Some of us went straight to the galleries; then there […]

Transforming Art: A Look Back At What Mattered

Artspace — which makes its money selling art online — provided a provocative list a few weeks ago: Ten Alternative Art Spaces That Transformed American Art. The writer, Ian Wallace, and maybe others there (I don’t know how Artspace works, editorially) specifically tried to consider the national picture, not just NYC, which is good. Just […]

Who Would You Pick To Play Picasso? Plus, Best And Worst Artists’ Films

Most movies about art and artists leave a lot to be desired. We shall see how Picasso is treated in a movie about the making of Guernica, with Antonio Banderas starring as the artist. Banderas, who like Picasso is a Malaga native, said that he “turned down the chance at one point of playing Mr. […]

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