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Jason Rosenfeld

Jason Rosenfeld Ph.D., is Distinguished Chair and Professor of Art History at Marymount Manhattan College. He was co-curator of the exhibitions John Everett Millais (Tate Britain, Van Gogh Museum), Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde (Tate Britain and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), and River Crossings (Olana and Cedar Grove, Hudson and Catskill, New York). He is a Senior Writer and Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail.

In Conversation


LA-based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby speaks with Jason Rosenfeld about Nigeria, her image transfer process, and specificity of references.

In Conversation

with Jason Rosenfeld

Walton Ford’s new exhibition of customarily grand watercolors at Gagosian Beverly Hills is titled Calafia, after the warrior queen in Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo’s Spanish novel Las sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián).

In Conversation

with Jason Rosenfeld

“I like my space to be very aggressive, I think, that I play a lot with something—just as you think something is a long way away, it comes right up in your face again.”

In Conversation

with Jason Rosenfeld

“It’s what makes me think about art history as a stacking and stacking, or unstacking, or digging and burying, but to me it’s always stacked until like two minutes ago, when whoever just finished a painting—the most contemporary piece, newest, modern piece of art is being finished right now”.

In Conversation

SANYA KANTAROVSKY with Jason Rosenfeld

"I feel that humor is ultimately the most important element, this more Bergsonian kind of humor, a kind of self-reflexive humor, a tap on the shoulder."

Jason Rosenfeld

Linda Nochlin was my dissertation advisor at the Institute of Fine Art, New York University. I had been working with her second husband, Richard Pommer, and edging towards specializing in architectural history, as he was such a brilliant scholar and teacher, and had been very supportive of my work—he once said I wrote like an angel.

The Keeper

New York’s most important exhibiting institution without its own permanent collection is at present featuring a remarkably stimulating show about the act of collection and preservation.

Valentin de Boulogne Beyond Caravaggio

Black first became stylish in western art in Rome in the beginning of the 17th century through the paintings of an artist from near Milan, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Fast Forward: Painting From the 1980s

Drawn from the museum’s collection, this welcome forty-work reappraisal of a decade still warily regarded is not meant to be comprehensive, but well lays the groundwork for a fuller consideration.

Peder Balke: Painter of Northern Light

Norwegian painter Peder Balke (1804 – 1887) is unrepresented in the Metropolitan’s collection, but owned in depth by longtime supporters of the museum, The George Hearn Trust and Asbjørn Lunde, who have together lent thirteen of seventeen works by the artist in this one-room sparkler of a show.

James Nares: Monuments

Nares gets New York, the most pedestrian-friendly metropolis in the world. He proves it with every aesthetic move he has ever made, no less than asking us to think about the stones beneath our feet.

Turner’s Whaling Pictures

In 2008, the Metropolitan’s survey of the British Romantic painter JMW Turner (1775 – 1851) revealed him, in his exceptional blend of literature, landscape, history, morality, politics, and technical experimentation, to be the great Western artist of the first half of the 19th century. And, like Titian, or Caravaggio, or Rembrandt, or Matisse, an artist for all time, continually relevant to the changing human condition, and with an oeuvre ripe for focused explorations of various aspects of his career.

Thomas Cole’s Journey:
Atlantic Crossings

The exhibition opens with smoke, soot, ash, and steam—the environs of gritty, urban, insalubrious, northern England. These were the byways of Thomas Cole’s Lancashire youth.

BLUE BLACK: Curated by Glenn Ligon

It is a fraught moment to be discussing race and politics in art. The developing story of the national reassessment of disgraceful Confederate monuments has productively unearthed, for the general public, the symbolic power of art and its propagandistic role in perpetuating systems of power and control.

Walter De Maria and The Lightning Field at Forty:
Art as Symbiosis

Land Art now helps us see the very best of the planet more resolutely: its innate drama and its benign disregard.

Gods and Mortals at Olympus: Ancient Dion, City of Zeus

Gods and Mortals at Olympus marks the welcome return, after a four-year hiatus, of the Onassis Cultural Center to Midtown’s museum scene. Happily, the exhibition continues the Onassis tradition of attractive and engaging historical shows that speak to the cultural and political present.

Torkwase Dyson: Studies for Bird and Lava

The rigor of Torkwase Dyson’s intellectual and pictorial practices was fully on display in Studies for Bird and Lava, a set of 11 works in Pace’s new, light-filled East Hampton space, but the compelling aesthetic appeal of her project was also evident.

Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables

The present exhibition has arrived amidst a contentious national mood, with a divisive President attempting to define not only what makes America great but who constitutes America.

Ridley Howard Travel Pictures

Athens, Georgia and Brooklyn-based painter Ridley Howard’s first show at Marinaro Gallery is consistently compelling and abundantly aware of the history of art—strengths of a painter in his mid-forties with his own fully developed style.

Ragnar Kjartansson Scenes from Western Culture/Architecture and Morality/World Light

The Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s fourth solo show at Luhring Augustine is a tripartite serving of oils, videos, and a four-screen film. Concurrent with his survey retrospective at the Hirschhorn Museum, the exhibitions show Kjartansson seeking to redefine the terms of a durational aesthetic engagement through his deeply mindful, perhaps too historically conscious, art, while displaying the multivalent nature of his somewhat uncharacterizable approach.

HOLLY COULIS: Table Studies

Still life is a time-worn but hardly vigorous genre at the moment, but Athens, Georgia-based painter Holly Coulis has been inventively tweaking its terms, and never more so than in these new playful and precise works.


The powerful and monumental paintings in Vincent Desiderio’s ninth show with Marlborough Gallery since 1993 reveal his continued fascination with the history of figurative art and a mucky pleasure in pushing copious amounts of oil around a surface.

The Thomas Cole House, Olana, and Lyndhurst

Sleepy no more, the historic houses of the Hudson Valley have been invigorated with annual temporary exhibitions that enhance understanding of their fabrics and owners, and reward repeat visits.

Charles LeDray: American Standard

American Standard is the product of a resolutely original mind and represents an expansive view of the nation in the moment—it is exacting in its technique and sharp in its cultural commentary.

Alexei Jawlensky

This enlightening, first major U.S. museum exhibition on the artist (and the accompanying, defining catalogue) will not catapult him into the first rank, but it compellingly covers his entire career, with a particularly deep focus on the rocky second half of his life. For Jawlensky, this was a period marked by: exile due to war; the indignity of the Nazis labeling him a degenerate artist, prohibiting him from exhibiting, and crushing his market (although he became a German citizen the next year); and a fatally debilitating arthritis.

Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body

Equal parts astonishing, creepy, and daring, Like Life is that rarest of major exhibitions: almost entirely comprised of sculpture; visually intriguing at every turn; and brimming with interesting ideas.


Memorable Mad. Sq. Art projects have abounded, but none impact the environment and relate better to the formal qualities of the park than Martin Puryear’s monumental and terrific Big Bling (2016), which commands the now lush and verdant oval for the next three seasons, and is deeply resonant of life in today’s New York.


Alexander Calder (1898–1976) redefined and expanded an entire medium, while fulfilling the purported prime directive of mid-century modernism: abstraction.

Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction

Francis Picabia (1879 – 1953), whose mother was French and whose father was a Cuban-born Spaniard, also described himself as being both Italian and American, and his art is no less polyvalent. MoMA’s monstrous, thought-provoking, and at times thrilling survey—with its formidable catalogue—demands focus, commitment, and an open mind; and provides everything you need to assess this unsung hero of an undefined modernism. Best known as an associate of Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery and a progenitor of New York proto-Dada around World War I, Picabia is newly revealed in this retrospective of 241 works, exploring the artist’s entire career through oils, drawings, printed publications, film, associations with music, theater, and dance, enamel paintings, photo-based work, spoken word compositions, and correspondence.

Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today

There was a time, not so long ago, when the study of Realism, Impressionism, and the roots of French Modernism was the edgiest of fields. Advanced scholarship and concomitant museum exhibitions teased out aspects of such Paris-based art that kept it dynamic: the quality of intellectual discernment was high; smart graduate dissertations flowed; the works connected with a popular audience; and picture prices went through the roof. But then complacency set in.


The relationship between “take” and “make” is essential to Zoe Leonard’s deeply personal, associative, nostalgic, and generous art.

Symbolism in Europe: Burne-Jones, Khnopff, Mucha, and Gauguin

At the very moment that the European Union appears on the verge of splintering, with Britain’s impending Brexit on March 29, four concurrent monographic and single venue exhibitions have celebrated artists central to fin-de-siècle Symbolism, the last truly unified movement in European art.


There are nine oils and five graphite drawings in Catherine Murphy’s latest show. This includes everything the artist has made since 2013, the year of her last exhibition at the gallery. Everything. The meticulous Murphy, now in her early seventies, has honed her practice to the essentials, documenting the quotidian in her Poughkeepsie environs with more and more of a laser focus, and at an earned stately pace. Five of these works closed out her beautiful Skira Rizzoli monograph, published in 2016, but now they can all be seen together, hanging in generous spaces, and beautifully revealing the continued evolution of her inimitable practice, an exercise in concentration in two mediums.

Matvey Levenstein

Starting with iPhone photos, some dating back to 2009, Levenstein employs a conceptual process of selecting and expanding or shrinking images without the aid of a projector. It is a manual translation of the intimacy of the phone screen, first to drawings and then to oils.

Essex Street Quartet (2004)

Ernie Gehr’s series of four related films form part of “The City” section of The Long Run, MoMA’s thematic reinstallation of its fourth floor permanent collection to showcase work by artists from their later years.

Candice Breitz: Too Long, Didn’t Read

There are issues with the presentation, and over 35 hours of footage is daunting, but it is a worthy attempt to highlight the committed work of this important Berlin-based White South African artist, despite the regrettable loss of an impressive slate of public programs that the museum had scheduled around the social themes of these films: mainly the refugee crisis and the criminalization of sex work.


This is the case of Proscenium (2000), one of his largest and most successful works, which dances through the cavernous space of the Neuberger, its traced forms conjured as if from Tinkerbell’s wand.

Elizabeth Ibarra

Ibarra is a Mexican artist from Guadalajara, Jalisco, who lives in Los Angeles, and this is her first exhibition on the East Coast. Joel Mesler, whose gallery seeks to make connections between the Southern California and New York arts scenes, came across her works at the pop-up Newsstand Project in LA at the end of 2019.

Andy Goldsworthy: Red Flags

The appearance of Red Flags in this annus horribilis in the capitalist heart of this country, that Grand Experiment looking brittle at 244 years old, forms a palimpsest of hope in our recovering city.


The elegance of Saville’s facture, the swirling and energetic pace of her drawing, made her inheritor of a tradition of gestural, bravura painting going back to Titian, Rubens, and Velázquez, and as reworked by John Everett Millais and Édouard Manet


The Metropolitan Museum of Art is giving the French Romantic Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) the full historical treatment accorded an old master: generously sized, darkened galleries; deep, jewel-tone walls; and over 150 spot lit works.

Jason Lutes's Berlin

Picking up the first issue of Berlin in April 1996 was like coming upon something one had imagined but never expected to encounter: historical fiction in the form of a comic book bearing both literary aspirations and compelling, art historically savvy imagery.

A Tribute to Thomas Nozkowski

Tom was one of the first postwar artists to question the heritage, hubris, and clichéd bloat of Abstract Expressionism. His intelligence transformed art as a political act; the creation of exquisite canvases that would fit in humble homes and not necessarily be destined for corporations or institutions


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2020

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