Van Gogh in Santa Barbara

The exhibition “Through Vincent’s Eyes” at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art disabused me of two long-held ideas about Van Gogh’s art: 1. That his style was a reaction to Impressionism, and 2. That he never painted a bad picture. Before I get into my critique, however, I should commend curator Eik Kahng and the […]

Art Highlights of 2021

Museum- and gallery-going were necessarily down in 2021, thanks to Covid, but we were fortunate to have our base in New York and family in San Francisco, giving us a chance to catch some of the season’s big shows and rub shoulders with smaller venues along the way.  In retrospect, the year doesn’t look so […]

Philadelphia Museum of Art

I wondered, as I wandered through the many galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, how long will we have this kind of encyclopedic, time-specific museum? Or more to the point, how long will we have them outside New York and a few other world capitals? You have to remember that the encyclopedic museum (EM) […]

Jasper Johns

The opening galleries at both the Whitney and Philadelphia were full of people and Jasper Johns’s greatest hits from the late ’50s: targets, flags, numbers and maps. By the end, the crowds had dissipated and one wondered if the same could be said for Johns’s art. I admit that I had struggled, during the latter […]

Surrealism Beyond Borders

The Met’s “Surrealism Beyond Borders” is more a show of social and political history than art. Surrealism was an expression of nonconformity, even to the point of rebellion, that artists around the world (defined here as Japan, Mexico, South America and Europe) latched onto, often but not always cognizant of the dicta laid down in […]