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What Makes A Good Collector? And What Is Craft vs. Art? Two Stories

Usually, the most noteworthy collectors–aside from those, like J. Paul Getty, with the wherewithal to buy anything they want–are the ones that go their own way, that collect a field that’s out-of-fashion but full of worthy artworks. Usually, they both self-educate and they seek expert advice. One such person is Walter O. Evans (at right), a […]

U.S. As Boiling Pot: “America After the Fall”

Think about American art in the 1930s. Does anything come to mind? Maybe the Regionalism of Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. But there was so much more to the decade than that. For one thing, art was “subsidized” via the Works Progress Administration in the second half of the decade, probably creating a bigger […]

The Fisher Folly: SFMoMA’s Bad Deal

We’ve never known exactly the details of the deal that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art made in 2009 with the Fisher family to get its collection (better described, actually, as access to the family’s collection–at first for 25 years and later changed to 100 years). And we still don’t. But an article by […]

A Master, A Mysterious Girl and An Unsolved Question

When I traveled to Berlin earlier this summer, I spent about four and half hours at the Gemaldegalerie (not enough time)–a full hour of which was spent looking at Portrait of a Young Girl (1470) by Petrus Christus. It’s the subject of the “Masterpiece” column I wrote for The Wall Street Journal, and was published […]

Rewind: Another Look at William Merritt Chase

Do we need to become reacquainted with William Merritt Chase? I’m afraid we do. Many people I come across know him as an Impressionist, though he was the last of The Ten to be admitted to the group, or as that painter of fish, because he believed that anything could be made beautiful on canvas […]

An Exhibition Not to Be Missed, And One I’m Glad Is Over

In New York, I visited several special exhibitions this past week. Let me mention two here. The first, Founding Figures: Copper Sculpture from Ancient Mesopotamia, ca. 3300–2000 B.C., is at the Morgan Library and Museum until Aug. 21. Don’t miss it, if you live nearby. Lucky for me, I had a tour of it from the […]

A Big Splash for A Little Museum

Winona, MN, is home to just 27,500 people, but it has an art museum worthy of a much bigger city. The Minnesota Marine Art Museum (below)–which is far more interesting that you may now be imagining–just celebrated its tenth anniversary. And an article that I wrote about it for The Wall Street Journal was published […]

Good News From a Buyout, For A Change

I’ve been holding my tongue for a few days, but today I can give you the news of Richard Aste, the European paintings curator at the Brooklyn Museum. Aste took the museum’s buyout offer–it’s shrinking, as is the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. But now comes official word that Aste will become […]

Diane Arbus, The Met and “The Envelope”

Maybe it was the heat, or the humidity. Maybe it was the artist–Diane Arbus, and the fact that diane arbus: in the beginning is focused on her eaerly works, with more than two-thirds of the works on view never before shown. Whatever the reason, the Met Breuer* was packed when I visited on Sunday afternoon. […]

Is This A Portrait If I Say So? A Gutsy Exhibition

But enough about the Met, for the time being at least. Let’s let a little dust settle there. Can we talk about art for a day? Specifically, I want to commend the Bowdoin College Museum of Art for its current exhibition, This Is a Portrait If I Say So: Identity in American Art, 1912 to Today, […]

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