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” […]

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, […]