Who said anything about a summer break? I had way too much to do in the past few days, and I’m feeling it–in fact, I think I may be on the verge of being officially under the weather, which is particularly uncool given the fact that I have to hit four deadlines this week.
At least I racked up a lot of art before white smoke started pouring out from under my hood. To begin with, I saw three plays in three days:
– Here Lies Jenny, Bebe Neuwirth’s Kurt Weill revue.
– The Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of Donald Margulies’ Sight Unseen, starring Laura Linney.
All will find their way into The Wall Street Journal sooner or later.
I also visited four gallery shows in quick succession on Saturday:
– Richard Diebenkorn: Works on Paper, up at Artemis Greenberg Van Doren (730 Fifth Ave.) through Saturday, is a museum-quality exhibition of paintings and prints from Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” and “Clubs & Spades” series. I would have missed this splendid show had Tyler Green of Modern Art Notes not called my attention to it. See Tyler’s right-hand column (he’s an artsjournal.com blogger) for details, then get right over to Artemis Greenberg Van Doren and see the show while you still can.
– Neil Welliver: Oil Studies, up at Alexandre Gallery (41 E. 57th) through June 18, is an exceptionally beautiful show of preliminary small-scale studies for some thirty-five of Welliver’s large-scale paintings portraying the woods of Maine. The difference between the two formats is one of size, not finish, though the effect is different as well: Welliver’s oil studies, like Jackson Pollock’s small drip paintings, have a concentrated focus that I find especially appealing. (The comparison isn’t at all absurd–Welliver, like Fairfield Porter and Nell Blaine, is a committed representationalist who was nonetheless deeply influenced by abstract expressionist, an approach I find hugely sympathetic.)
– Mood Indigo: The Legacy of Duke Ellington, up at Michael Rosenfeld (24 W.57th St.) through July 30, is an interesting but spotty show that purports to provide “a look at jazz and improvisation in American art.” In practice, this means a mixed bag ranging from the real right thing (a Stuart Davis gouache from 1947) to pale imitations (a trio of faux Mondrians by Charmion von Wiegand and Burgoyne Diller). Among the interesting curiosities are Hans Hofmann’s Composition No. 9, a 1953 oil that incorporates elements suggestive of musical notation, and a painting by jazz drummer George Wettling, who studied with Stuart Davis (you can tell, too). Also on display is Ellington’s very own white baby grand. More fun than illuminating, but still worth a peek.
– Jacob Lawrence: Prints and Selected Paintings, up at DC Moore (724 Fifth Ave.) through June 30, is a nice but not thrilling show devoted mostly to Lawrence’s late graphic work. His flat planes of color lent themselves to lithography, but by the time he embraced the medium in earnest, his creative fire had ebbed, and though he was recognizably himself, repetition had all too clearly set in.
– Now playing on iTunes: Bob Brookmeyer’s Get Well Soon, about which I’m writing later today for this coming Sunday’s Washington Post.
Enough for now, and probably for the rest of the day. I’ve got to husband my energy if I’m going to get through this week in one piece. I promise not to vanish altogether, though–there’s lots of stuff about which I want to write.
UPDATE: I spoke a little too soon–I’m definitely out of order. Looks like a spring cold (at best). Headed for bed, will see you all later.