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Small Show At The Met Makes Me Wish… UPDATED


The thunderstorms that hit the New York area last Wednesday and Thursday evening destroyed my plans for a week away, so I ended up spending the Fourth of July in town instead of about 1,500 miles away in Texas. I decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum around mid-day on the Fourth, and it was packed then, even before it started to rain, which probably brought more visitors. First I went to Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century, a beautifully installed exhibit of sculpture, and then I decided to … [Read more...]

Koons: One Big Show In More Ways Than One

Koons interview

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 was a program. After Whitney director Adam Weinberg spoke, Donna DeSalvo, the chief curator and deputy director for programs, and exhibition curator Scott Rothkopf took center stage too -- and then, when it was time for Koons to … [Read more...]

Why The Morgan’s Roger Wieck Is A Surprising Proselytizer


Anecdotally, we think we know that interest in "older art" is waning, and a smaller pool of those anecdotes suggest that it's partly because of their subject matter. In this increasingly secular age, religious subjects -- and some historical subjects -- seem to be of less interest to some art-lovers and collectors. When a story or a symbol is involved -- even as simple as a lily, representing purity, or a fish, for Christ -- people miss the significance. In 2009, The Art Newspaper wrote about this problem, and how the Victoria and Albert Museum … [Read more...]

Foggy Weather At The Glass House


Lucky me, I was invited to go to the Glass House -- Philip Johnson's home in New Canaan, Ct. -- on Saturday for its Summer Party. The house was completed in 1949, and has been open to the public since 2007 from May to November (advance registration/tickets required). It's often sold out, I was told by several other party-goers. On a beautiful sunny, not-too-hot day like Saturday, it was well-worth the visit, not just to see where Johnson lived and his architectural concept for the house, but also for the outbuildings made as art galleries, … [Read more...]

A Museum Where “Beauty Reigns”


We've certainly had exhibitions focusing on beauty in contemporary art before, but not one (that I know of) subtitled anything like A Baroque Sensibility in Recent Painting. I thought it was an interesting premise, worth looking at. The exhibition, at and organized by the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, opened on June 11. Beauty Reigns was curated by René Paul Barilleaux, the museum's chief curator and curator of art after 1945. He chose thirteen "emerging and mid-career abstract painters whose art is characterized in whole or part by … [Read more...]

How To Curate A Folk Art Show Where There’s Little Tradition For It


For all the chatter that American museums do  not give enough respect to folk art, we do so more than some countries -- Britain, for example. "When the Royal Academy was established in 1769, it made a point of declaring that "no needlework, artificial flowers, cut paper, shell work, or any such baubles should be admitted" within its elite precincts," according to The Guardian. Until today, there has never  been a "significant exhibition of British folk art at a major institution," the Tate itself says in a press release. But the Tate Britain … [Read more...]

Yale Center Scores With “Of Green Leaf…”

Of Green Leaf...

In today's Wall Street Journal, I review an exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art entitled Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower: Artists' Books and the Natural World. I pitched it because I think the whole category of artists' books is too little known. But as it turned out, the exhibit isn't strictly a show of artists' books. It includes, as I write, "prints, drawings, collages, specimen books, field notes, cut-paper objects, photographs, video, sound and multimedia pieces as well as books—plus some 18th- and 19th-century microscopes" too. … [Read more...]

The Freer’s Whistler Connection Pays Off (Again)


You art-lovers know that James McNeill Whistler did so much more than that portrait of his mother, but so many people do not. That's why the exhibit at the Freer-Sackler* called An American in London: Whistler and the Thames,  is so necessary. It's the first major exhibit of his works in the U.S. in about 20 years. Better yet, while I love his full-length portraits, which were on view in a special show at the Frick in 2008 along with etchings and pastels from his trip to Venice, the Freer show focuses on his moody, atmospheric river scenes. … [Read more...]

Mocking the Art World, But Not Too Seriously


In a week when Christie's can and does sell almost $880 million worth of contemporary art in just two nights -- with more to come (or go) at Sotheby's and Phillips -- I thought it was time for amusement, sarcastic as it may be. Several days ago, The Daily Dot, an internet newspaper, brought us Here's a hilarious gallery show for people who hate art. The article is about a work of fiction by one James Hannaham called "Card Tricks," which he wrote "in the form of art gallery plaques," as novelist Jennifer Egan wrote in Recommended Reading, an … [Read more...]

Tate’s Coming Show: Is There A U.S. Counterpart?

NPG P1153; Kenneth Clark, Baron Clark by Bernard Lee ('Bern') Schwartz

Next week, Tate Britain will open what could be an excellent exhibition built around the career and influence of Kenneth Clark (pictured). It makes me wonder if anyone here in the U.S. could qualify for such treatment. The exhibition, titled Kenneth Clark - Looking for Civilisation,  ...explores the impact of art historian, public servant and broadcaster Kenneth Clark (1903–1983), widely seen as one of the most influential figures in British art of the twentieth century. The exhibition examines Clark’s role as a patron and collector, art … [Read more...]

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