About Robert Marshall

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So far has created 44 blog entries.

MoMA Revisited

May 8th, 2015|

I will want to examine my perception more closely, but a  cursory visit to New York’s Museum of Modern Art (4/6/15) left me wondering about the disparity in quality between the sixth and fifth floors where the permanent collection is displayed. 1940 is the apparent dividing line between the two. The sixth floor is chock-a-block […]

Chinese Stones

March 8th, 2015|

Stephen Little, the curator of Chinese art at LACMA, spoke at Jill Finsten’s Art Talks on Thursday (3/5/15) about the Chinese veneration of stones, giving us more insight about the Chinese stone that guards our front door, which we really should name.

This respect for stones arises from Daoism, which has a creation myth that goes […]

George Caleb Bingham

January 24th, 2015|

Looking ahead to the exhibition that will visit the Met this summer, I have just read the catalogue, “Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham & the River” and found it illuminating and crystallizing why I so like Bingham’s work. First, it put his oeuvre in context: one never knows how unique an artist’s vision is, […]

Vienna, with the MIA

November 17th, 2014|

Vienna – Top Ten Arts Experiences

1. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
2. Otto Wagner, Steinhof Church
The yin and yang of Viennese architecture, one from the 15th century, the other a landmark of “Vienna 1900,” both exemplify gesamtkunstwerk, complete decorative ensembles.
3. Vermeer, The Art of Painting
In the richness of […]

Chinese Paintings at LACMA

June 4th, 2014|

Of all the marvelous Chinese Paintings from Japanese Collections currently visiting LACMA, courtesy of curator Stephen Little, three ink works from perhaps the 13th century not only caught my attention, they rewarded revisits and made me think I could look at them for days on end. That, I suppose, is one goal of a Zen […]

New York, May ’14

May 8th, 2014|

On successive days I saw similarly provocative shows, at the Guggenheim and the Museum of the City of New York. Neither contained great art; both raised questions about the role of art in society. Futurism was the kind of exhaustive, indeed definitive, survey in which the Guggenheim excels. Full of loans from Italy, it showed […]


March 30th, 2014|

An appearance by the estimable Sharon Waxman at an SBMA Director’s Dialogue prompted a return to my thoughts on the issue of repatriation of stolen art. It also prompted me to read her 2012 book,
Loot. There was nothing in the book that added to my previous understanding of the subject, formed by reading, several […]

The Gloomy Gardner

November 4th, 2013|

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston has a lot in common with the Barnes, now in Philadelphia. Both are private, idiosyncratic collections amassed early in the 20th century by a single individual, and both are, or have been, severely constricted by the founder’s deed of gift. The collections, of course, differ: Barnes was into […]

Balthus at the Met

October 9th, 2013|

Once again I was so annoyed by the wall labels of a Met show that I had trouble appreciating the art. This time the show, apparently conceived and titled for marketing purposes, was called “Balthus Cats and Girls” – thus, appealing to the Met’s two main audiences: men and women.
The […]

An Annoying Exhibition

June 13th, 2013|

Met Director Thomas Campbell touts The Civil War and American Art as a “once-in-a-lifetime exhibition proposes significant new readings of some of this country’s most iconic paintings.” It is, however, a reading I’ve seen before – among other places in the MIA’s American Sublime show. Then I wasn’t convinced; this time I was simply […]

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