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Brandt Junceau

Brandt Junceau is a sculptor, currently teaching at the New York Studio School. Instagram: @brandtjunceau 

Le Corbusier a Life, Le Corbusier Le Grand

I am lucky to have read Le Corbusier uncritically. I was sixteen, and I began with the big linen-bound Oeuvres Completes 1910-1965.

BERNINI: Sculpting in Clay

Gian Lorenzo Bernini wasn’t always our Bernini. He was self-made (a ferocious infighter at the Vatican), and dominated baroque Rome with hard work, not simply by being the best man for every job.

The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman

In 1937, Elie and Viola Nadelman's Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts was an original in practically every way. Today, the contents are still quite delicious; every piece exceptional, acquired while practically nobody else was looking, each cousin to a common aesthetic purpose.

Jonathan Silver: Matter and Vision

Existential sculpture as practiced by Alberto Giacometti, his via confrontational and often desperate portrait objects that stare back unblinking, or howl open-mouthed—has been little exercised since. It sleeps like a buried high-voltage line, as perilous as a third rail. No artist who isn’t perfectly serious, and tinged with gallows humor, should touch it either.

Rodin in the United States: Confronting the Modern

Confronting the Modern begs a question the exhibition does not mean to ask: just what is Rodin’s modernity? Which comes down to who was Auguste Rodin, really?

Marino Marini: Arcadian Nudes

The exhibition is an eye-opener, in part because, quite as Marini had feared, this kind of thing just isn’t done anymore. These figures come to us from another world, although it really wasn’t so long ago. We are now accustomed to objects that are just that, but here every “piece” is a person.

Jean-Jacques Lequeu: Visionary Architect

When the poet-draftsman Lequeu loved a thing, he drew a section of it. An axial slice down the middle, revealing an unseen interior space, was surely his favorite go-to graphic sleight of hand. A section, which is a purely imaginary concept, makes anatomy out of every subject.

Robert Gober: “Shut up.” “No. You shut up.”

An inspired paucity is the vehicle of the artist’s latest style. Perhaps he no longer needs much from the outside world. Maybe he gave too much already.

Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color

In New York this new year, the exhibition with the most argument, conjecture, and consequence is the Metropolitan Museum’s Chroma. This somewhat sly intervention means to reintroduce the presence of color in classical art.

Michelangelo, the Man and the Myth

Michelangelo, the Man and the Myth might be more plainly called “Michelangelo Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti.” Fully half the checklist items are hagiographic materials of greater or lesser interest, which better portray the artist’s public perception and the lending institution’s holdings than the artist himself.

Louise Bourgeois, Freud’s Daughter

Louise Bourgeois, Freud’s Daughter, an exhibition of 47 objects including sculpture on pedestals, in suspension and multiplying in vitrines, plus large freestanding vitrine-pieces, a very large “Cell” installation, paintings, collage, drawings, notes, plaques, and reliefs by Louise Bourgeois, with a selection of especially eloquent quotations from Sigmund Freud, is an event that each of its subjects might have wished for, maybe even demanded.

Leonardo da Vinci's Saint Jerome

The panel is more than precious; it is a relic, not of the saint, but the artist. The installation presumes that we will understand it to be a masterpiece, one of only six securely attributed to Leonardo’s hand.

Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start

The Museum of Modern Art considers Modern from the Start the story of a relationship to its first and only “house artist.”

Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer

You really have got the old man,” Kenneth Clark told John Pope-Hennessy upon reading his study of Michelangelo. The “old man” (1475–1564, painter, sculptor, architect, and poet) seems always to have been the old man, always at the top.

Myron Stout and Cycladic Art

Craig Starr Gallery’s Myron Stout and Cycladic Art confronts the artist and the ancients, for the first time, face to face. The exhibition is quite literally museum-quality, including four of the iconic black-and-white paintings (that’s a lot—there are only 21 in total), three charcoal drawings in similar format, and a number of the later less-celebrated graphite drawings, startlingly small, in tones ranging from near-fleshy paper to smoky and smokier grays: no black, no white.

Fictions of Emancipation: Carpeaux Recast

The centerpieces of the exhibition are seen from afar, backlit by the Lehman Ring rotunda: back-to-back terracotta and marble versions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s La Négresse, later entitled Why Born Enslaved! (modeled 1868, carved 1873). The installation is a set piece, and there is no mistaking the occasion as a marker—henceforward, the Metropolitan intends the collection to mix in the now, outside the walls, in the street, if possible.

Artists and Writers

Authors say that writing sometimes writes itself, notably when their characters seem to speak out in their own voice. Visual artists claim a pristine silence for their own, which they prize, eye and hand alone together gladly, no words. The word that breaks that silence is often recriminatory, and resented. It came upon a scene uninvited, that should not have been witnessed. Words, they say, compromise sight, and the silent work of the eye.

Marino Marini

Marino Marini is not my master. I was not that fortunate, but he is for me an exemplary artist.

Michael Brenson’s David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformative Sculptor

This artist’s life stares back at the would-be biographer, like a gorgon. The author turned a mirror on it. The tale is made to tell itself, witness by witness, snapped off in an unblinking chain of hard short chapters, almost voice by voice. By conscientious decision, maybe a matter of self-preservation, Brenson is a laconic guide rather than interpreter and thankfully, no explainer.

On Edward Hicks

Our beloved Edward Hicks (1780-1849), painter of 62 Peaceable Kingdoms, was, we learn, maybe not so easily loveable. He was trouble, to put it lightly. And an early master of appropriation, pastiche and transhuman identity—he needed all that and more, to stand his ground and say his say.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2023

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