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, […]

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” […]

New York ’23 – Spring

Just as the Guggenheim vaulted Hilda Am Klimt from obscurity to the canon in 2019, it has put on a retrospective for Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt) that will require her future inclusion in any survey of 20th-century abstraction, and not just listings of female or South American artists. With her wire sculptures she invented not just […]

New York in March ’23

A short week in Manhattan gave me a chance to catch up on some shows between the fall and spring blockbusters. I was looking forward to “Beyond the Light” at the Met, because I’m a recent fan of the Danish 19th century, the Golden Age of Eckersberg, Kobke, Rorbye and up to Hammershoi. Unfortunately, the […]

ArtNotes Fall ’22

Wolfgang Tillmans MoMA’s  “members field guide” compares  the emotional impact of a wall of photographs by Wolfgang Tillmans to a “perfect pop song,” which makes me feel not so out of it, as many a “perfect pop song” also leaves me cold. The just-deceased Peter Schjeldahl calls Tillmans a “genius” in his New Yorker review, […]

NY Art Notes ’22

Two months away from Santa Barbara were never far from art, and although it is excruciatingly difficult to translate visual experiences into words, I can at least record my reactions as I recall them. First, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is my home base away from home, a five-minute walk from our apartment on 79th […]

New York Notes

Our first two weeks in Manhattan post-pandemic put me back in touch with great art. I had no computer and I failed to take notes, so the impressions that follow will be imprecise and subject to correction and emendation when we spend more time in New York in the fall. The Frick Madison. The big news […]

Thomas Cole @ Met

Thomas Cole is a crucial, but transitional, figure in the history of American landscape art, bridging the European world of myth and legend with the American world of boundless nature. This can be seen, most famously, in his five-part Course of Empire series in which the unspoiled world of the Native American gives way to […]