Entries by Bob Marshall

D.C. Notes

Random thoughts from a brief visit to the National Gallery of Art last Saturday (3/23/24): The addition and integration of works from the Corcoran Gallery give the National Gallery one of the strongest, if not the strongest, collections of American art in the country. Despite the softening of the auction market for works in this […]

Frieze LA ’24

Four hours on VIP Thursday at the 2024 iteration of Frieze LA left me unqualified to make informed judgments but still with reactions, however superficial. The initial reaction, as often at such a fair, was being overwhelmed. The crowd was huge, the booths were packed atop each other and there was no easy way to […]

SBMA Paintings

In December when I brought a curator from Minneapolis to see the paintings galleries at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art I realized, to my surprise, that there was little I was proud to show him. And yet, I’ve always been impressed with SBMA’s collection. What happened? First, the Preston Morton Gallery was filled with […]

NY Art Scene ’23

In addition to Manet/Degas at the Met and Ruscha at MoMA, I had a number of other art encounters during our October ’23 in Manhattan. Summary comments follow: Ruth Asawa at the Whitney was the surprise star of the season. Much as Hilda am Klimt was raised to the modern art canon by her show […]

Ruscha at MoMA

I approached the Ed Ruscha retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art with low expectations. From numerous auction, museum and art gallery shows I was very familiar with Ruscha’s playful use of a single word in fanciful type on a plain background, made of gunpowder or other unusual medium. Clever and attractive, but how many […]


New York: Hot on the heels of its blockbuster Van Gogh (Cypresses) exhibition, the Met has trotted out two of the big four “Impressionists” to draw more crowds and open their wallets. (I put “Impressionists” in quotes because neither Manet nor Degas would have accepted the classification, and their styles differ significantly from the light-infused, […]

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

A worldwide traveling exhibition of blown-up images of the 34 frescoes that make up the Sistine Chapel ceiling, plus The Last Judgment, lit down in Santa Barbara’s Old Mission for the summer, yielding surprises good and bad. The images themselves were less than great, having the look of overenlarged low-resolution photos. (I don’t know how […]

Boston MFA

I’ve always found the MFA to be just about the hardest art museum to navigate. It also used to be the fustiest. On a day visit last week I found numerous design improvements, in line with user-friendly trends; but with many galleries closed for reinstallation or upgrading I was just as confused going from one […]


A quick shout-out to LACMA for putting on at least four very interesting temporary exhibitions while the main campus is closed for construction (2024 seems an optimistic completion date). The main attraction for me was the show of the Transcendental Painting Group (TPG) that came from the Crocker in Sacramento and is, apparently, the first […]

Van Gogh’s Cypresses

I approach a themed show at the Met with some skepticism: are the curators making, let alone creating, a point in order to justify amassing loans for a blockbuster show? From a museological viewpoint, it is no longer enough, or professionally justifiable, to say, “Here are a lot of van Goghs for your viewing pleasure” […]