Tag Archives: painting

Adoration of the Cat

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A hoary plot line of melodrama reduces the hero and heroine to dire straits; they’ve tried everything in their power to escape doom; the soundtrack crescendos in a minor key. “Pray,” he says. “It’s in God’s hands. Only a miracle … Continue reading

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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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‘A Beautiful, Pathetic Object’

It’s a pleasure to meet William T. Wiley, who moved and shook in a West Coast “funk art” scene while steering clear of wealth and fame. It’s no surprise that agreement on what exactly defined the funk art movement was … 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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‘Gloopy Glory’

The paintings of 90-year-old Frank Auerbach, “last surviving member of a pathfinding generation of postwar British figurative painters,” are up my alley. Auerbach’s iterative pigment attacks are savage and astonishing, and Jason Farago is always good for a blue-streak of … Continue reading

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Word of Thanks

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A glance tells me this blog started in April 2018. This is April 2021. An anniversary month invites breaking the fourth wall for a moment. Brokenly, the endeavor here is twofold: (1) to practice writing; (2) to practice translating. I … 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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‘Inter faeces et urinam nascimur’

“Between feces and urine we are born,” said Augustine in the 4th century. The bishop of Hippo’s take on parturition was that our mothers effectively defecate us from their feculent crannies. Doctrine on sex and love handed down by dour … 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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Alice Neel: ‘Collector of Souls’

“I would say she was looking at two ghetto children from uptown and bringing out the beauty in us.” [Jeff Neal, on left in the portrait with brother Toby.] (John Leland, “Two Brothers Posed for a Portrait. One Lived to … Continue reading

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