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 […]

Medici Portraits

Aside from the well-known and iconic Bronzino young men from the Frick and the Met and Eleonora and son from the Uffizi, the exhibition of Medici portraits at the Met featured a lot of pedestrian, undistinguished family portraits from a distinctly unfavored era of Art History: Mannerism. Collecting them together brought out what a severe […]

Vermeer Diminished

Just a note of horror that my favorite painting by Vermeer – and thus, one of my favorite paintings of all time – seems to have been, if not ruined, significantly diminished by an act of “restoration.” According to a report in the 9/14/21 New York Times, “After nearly three centuries behind a layer of […]

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 […]

Frieze LA ’20

The fun of Frieze LA is seeing and be seen, feeling part of the “arts community,” especially if you have a VIP pass, which we’ve had the last two years, thanks to a friend at the Addison Gallery in Andover. The fair is much smaller than Frieze NY, which is in some ways a good […]

Opinions & Observations

Single-artist exhibitions and displays can enhance your appreciation of the artist – or not. The Felix Vallotton show in London (and subsequently at the Met) was a prime example of the former: his work was unfamiliar beforehand; his style developed in interesting ways over his career; and the paintings selected were almost all top-notch and […]

Art in London

I spent a week in London looking at art, revisiting old friends and discovering some new. The Felix Vallotton show at the Royal Academy – coming to the Met later this fall – was a revelation. With only 50 paintings and an approximately equal number of prints, it covered  the Swiss artist’s career coherently and completely. […]

The Renaissance Nude

A major museum exhibition can have two justifications: it can make a novel or interesting point, or argument; or it can present great, or at least interesting, objects. By those measures, The Renaissance Nude at the Getty Center was a disappointment. If there was a point, it was hardly novel or coherent. Despite social inhibitions, […]