Tag Archives: criticism

Shows and Prose

Along comes more NYTimes torqued and taut art talk of the sort that sweeps me up. … Several gorgeous self-portraits made toward the end of his life. Their precision is astonishing… It’s clear that what most interested Ellis about ink … Continue reading

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Messing With Space

Like a pig rooting for truffles I harvest luscious phrases from Roberta Smith’s art critiques. After “he jumped on the Color Field painting bandwagon,” Jules Olitski (1922 – 2007) created works that “mess with space and scale in a visceral, … Continue reading

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‘Miner of Difficult Truths’

I can study all day Alice Neel’s brushwork and modeling of flesh and features, how she gestures at her subjects’ surroundings with casual precision. Her “Carmen and Judy” has a frank, womanly exactness and searing intimacy that The New Yorker’s … Continue reading

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Be Paint

… [Clement] Greenberg’s organizing idea was surprisingly simple: modern painting, having ceased to be illustrative, ought to be decorative. Once all the old jobs of painting—portraying the bank president, showing off the manor house, imagining the big battle—had been turned … Continue reading

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Wide Load

Jason Farrago lavishes a container shipload of exegetical rumination on Julie Mehretu’s paintings. Lines accreted in an essentially radial configuration, with large arcs orbiting an absent central axis, and orthogonal spokes sprouting from the core. (The Mehretu black line is … Continue reading

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‘Certitudes’

This is the Cubist revolution: Here, for the first time in Western art since the Renaissance, the world as we see it no longer has primacy. The picture is no longer an act of perception. It’s an act of imagination, … Continue reading

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‘Burden of Representation’

Roberta Smith writes of the Rothko painting that it “presents a glowing stack in brown, red and black on a red ground.” She describes the Church painting as “an expanse of shockingly deep red sky with a little sun peeping … Continue reading

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‘Explicit and Mysterious’

I’m a child of ranchers. Because of how misshapen and reactionary mythic cowboy culture is in America, I’m a fool for painting that introduces what Roberta Smith terms the “subversive theme of the gay black cowboy.” And as usual, Ms. … Continue reading

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A Hopper Reveal

It’s interesting to see instances of a teenage Edward Hopper’s copying of other artists, the more so as it touches on the reputation he cultivated “as an artist whose innate genius allowed him to emerge on the scene without a … Continue reading

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The Gargoyles’ Grin

In 1915, Wallace Stevens offered Harriet Monroe, founder of Poetry (the magazine), several poems that included Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock. “She returned them… finding them ‘recondite, erudite, provocatively obscure… all with ‘a kind of modern-gargoyle grin to them,’” writes Stevens … Continue reading

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