DAVID CARRIER is co-author with Joachim Pissarro of Wild Art (Phaidon, 2013). His next books, with Joachim Pissarro, are Aesthetics of the Margins / The Margins of Aesthetics and Aesthetic Theory, Abstract Art and Lawrence Carroll.
FEB 2018 | ArtSeen
For more than three decades now, a great deal of contemporary German painting has been shown in New York. The leading artists have had gallery and museum exhibitions, and all of them have been much celebrated. And yet, as this exhibition shows, how exotic Georg Baselitz’s visual aesthetic remains.
MAR 2018 | Art
“The beginning of the “Wall of Light” paintings came when I was sitting on a beach in Mexico in Zihuatanejo. I’d been visiting the ruins and I was in a moment of repose, so I made a little watercolor that was a memory portrait of my impression of what I’d been doing.”
APR 2018 | Art
Sylvain Bellenger, who was born in Normandy, took French degrees in philosophy and in art history. He then moved to the United States, where he held curatorial posts at the Cleveland Museum of Art and at the Art Institute of Chicago before being appointed in 2014 Director at Capodimonte in Naples.
MAY 2018 | ArtSeen
In 1973 Martin Cooper made the first public cell phone call from the street in mid-town Manhattan. New Era, a continuous ten minute, fifty-six second loop video by Doug Aitken responds to that event and the present consequences of this new technology.
MAY 2017 | Art
Thelma Golden, Director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, is a native New Yorker who grew up in Queens a precocious art lover. After graduating from Smith College with a BA in Art History and African-American Studies, in 1987 she became a curator at the Studio Museum.
JUL-AUG 2017 | ArtSeen
In his Lectures on Aesthetics, Hegel says that in art, the unfolding of truth and the revelations of world history are interlinked.
NOV 2017 | ArtSeen
What defines modernist painting, and distinguishes it from old master European art, is the elimination of obvious details. This suppression permits expressive directness and pursuit of immediacy, which makes the figurative works of Matisse and Picasso, like the abstractions of Mondrian and Pollock, distinctively modernist.
FEB 2016 | ArtSeen
This selection of paintings Francis Bacon made in the last fifteen years of his life (1977 1992) shows how, by employing a seemingly narrow range of subjects, he created an impressive variety of pictures.
MAY 2016 | ArtSeen
Nasreen Mohamedi (1937 1990), born in what is now Pakistan, trained partly in London (1954 57) and Paris (1961 63), was a Muslim who traveled to Bahrain, Iran, and Turkey while she lived and worked in India.
JUL-AUG 2016 | ArtSeen
Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei are closely tied to mass media. Both are celebrities who are famous beyond the narrow bounds of the art world, and both have enormous studios with small armies of assistants. They never really met, but Warhol visited Beijing and Ai lived in Manhattan from 1983 93, and so saw Warhol in passing. And so we learn from Eric Shiner’s interview published in the exhibition catalogue, when Ai came to New York, he read The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again). “To me,” he said, “Warhol always remained the most interesting figure in American art.
DEC 16-JAN 17 | ArtSeen
When painters migrate between previously distant visual cultures, novel artistic syntheses may seem possible. No country has a longer or more illustrious tradition of visual accomplishment than China. But until the 20th century, art in China mostly developed without directly responding to European painting. Zao Wou-Ki was one of the first Chinese painters to attempt a synthesis of these very different traditions.
APR 2015 | ArtSeen
Seeing an artists studio is exciting: what admirer of Caravaggio wouldnt enjoy a glimpse of his workspace, as it is imaginatively reconstructed in Derek Jarmans 1986 film? By going behind the scenes, we learn about the private life of a creative person, in a way that deepens our knowledge of their art.
MAY 2015 | ArtSeen
For any art historian interested in Nicolas Poussin but not a devotee of the interpretative literature, visiting this exhibition, which marks the 305th year since the artists death in 1665, might be puzzling.
JUNE 2015 | ArtSeen
When an old master painter shows someone reading, its natural to wonder: what is that document? So, for example, when we view the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Johannes Vermeer, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (1663 − 1664) we may speculate: is this a love letter, a note about practical business, or perhaps something even less exciting?
SEPT 2015 | ArtSeen
Driving along narrow country roads eighteen kilometers north of Aix-en-Provence one comes to Château la Coste, an art center designed by Tadao Ando in 2011.
FEB 2014 | Critics Page
Because most of us lack confidence in our ability to simply look at and feel art, in the same way that we can listen to and feel music, there exists a vast business of interpretation. (Michael Findlay, The Value of Art)
MAY 2014 | Art
Philippe de Montebello was appointed the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New Yorkin 1977 after having served at the same museum as chief curator under Thomas Hoving. When he retired in 2008 he was the longest-serving director in the institutions history, and also the longest-serving director of any major art museum.
JUL-AUG 2014 | Art
When recently we interviewed Philippe de Montebello, it happened that Sir Norman was in town, and so he participated in that discussion. He had much to say which was of great interest and so we thought it natural to continue the discussion with an interview devoted entirely to him.
SEPT 2014 | Art
When one of us, Joachim Pissarro, was chief curator at the Kimbell Museum in the 1990s, he worked with Mikhael Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage. And so when it happened that the other one of us, David Carrier, was visiting Saint Petersburg in July, 2014, we wanted to interview Piotrovsky.
NOV 2014 | ArtSeen
What often gives the art of an old master emotional depth is the attachment of surprising symbolic meanings to seemingly banal artifacts.
DEC 14-JAN 15 | Art
Alanna Heiss is hailed as a founder of what we know as the alternative space movement, and one of the most important centers for contemporary art in the country.
MAR 2013 | ArtSeen
“In view of the some four thousand publications on Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio,” the author of a very recent book about him writes, “one might think that everything that could possibly be said about the artist has been saidbut not by authors currently reaching for their pens or switching on their laptops.”
MAY 2013 | ArtSeen
There is one striking counter-example to the recent skeptical claims about the reach of art writing.
OCT 2013 | Art
Recently Jeffrey Deitch has been much in the news. He has just returned from L.A. where he held the directorship of MOCA for three years. Within this relatively short span of time, Deitch managed to transform radically the ways we approach museums, whether as insiders or outsiders, and, further even, he may have introduced a seismic change within the Art World proper.
DEC 13-JAN 14 | Art
Massimiliano Gioni, Director of Exhibitions at the New Museum was curator of the 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2013. When one of us saw that exhibition and then we both read the massive catalogue Il Palazzo Enciclopedico (Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2013) we could scarcely believe our eyes.
SEPT 2012 | ArtSeen
A blind man might write an interesting treatise on visual aesthetics: he could explain that painters depict still-life objects, historical events, landscapes and whatever else may be seen. He could tell us that some 20th-century artists created paintings with no depicted subject.
DEC 12-JAN 13 | ArtSeen
In his essay for the massive exhibition catalogue, the photographer Geoffrey James remarks that, though he has yet to travel to the city, when there, I know I will not find Sudeks Prague. He is right.
FEB 2018 | ArtSeen
There is a lot to see in each individual work, and there are many large works in this crowded exhibition. You need to take your time here. But ultimately the display works very nicely for German because she is an artist who deals in the stimulating pleasures of visual overload.
APR 2018 | Art Books
Early on Giorgio Morandi was a familiar, but marginal figure within Italian Futurism, who by the time of his death occupied only a modest place in modernist collecting culture. Thanks to important historical work by Janet Abramowicz in Giorgio Morandi: The Art of Silence (2005), we have a reliable account of Morandis life. To this growing corpus, we can now add the perspectives of other contemporary artists collected in Zwirner Bookss Giorgio Morandi: Late Paintings.
MAY 2018 | ArtSeen
In his late, short book St. Mark’s Rest (1877), John Ruskin says that nations compose their autobiographies in three ways: in “the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art.”
MAR 2017 | ArtSeen
Mangold works in series, reworking a visual motif in varied colors and, sometimes, in paintings of various sizes until he has exhausted its potential.
JUL-AUG 2017 | ArtSeen
Joffe doesn’t repeat herselfshe doesn’t need to because she is consistently, magnificently inventive.
SEPT 2017 | Art
When Joachim Pissarro and I began to organize our interviews with major museum directors—men or women who had decisively changed their institutions—from the very start we planned to talk with directors both in this country and internationally. Thus we interviewed not only Jeffrey Deitch, who had directed MOCA in LA; Philippe de Montebello of the Metropolitan; Alanna Heiss, and then Glenn Lowry, from MoMA; Massimiliano Gioni of the New Museum; and Thelma Golden of the Studio Museum in Harlem; but also Sir Norman Rosenthal from the Royal Academy, London; and Mikhail Piotrovsky at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. In this, the eighth of our interviews, we talk with Nigerian-born Okwui Enwezor who, after a distinguished early career as curator in the United States, organized exhibitions in Europe, where now he is director of the Haus der Kunst, Munich.
DEC 17-JAN 18 | ArtSeen
The most remarkable artwork in Richard Serra’s recent exhibition, which included dense paint stick drawings and sculpture, is Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure (2017).
APR 2016 | ArtSeen
“Where the literature of foreign nations and of past cultures is accessible only across the barrier of language,” Meyer Schapiro wrote, “the works of painting, sculpture, and architecture may be enjoyed directly through the eyes and the humanity of their makers experienced in the expressiveness of forms.”
JUNE 2016 | ArtSeen
Half a lifetime ago, around 1980, I started doing art criticism under the spell of Joseph Masheck, who was then the editor of Artforum.
NOV 2016 | ArtSeen
The photographs in Sally Mann’s exhibition Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington are radically different. For a dozen years, towards the end of his life, Twombly worked half the year in Lexington, Virginia, the small town where, like Mann, he was born.
MAR 2015 | ArtSeen
This exhibition of Paul Cézannes images of his most frequently portrayed model, his wife, Hortense Fiquet (1850 1922), includes 24 of the 29 known paintings of her, three watercolors, fourteen drawings, and three sketchbooks.
MAY 2015 | Art
When we began this ongoing sequence of interviews with museum directors, we knew that we wanted to talk with Glenn Lowry. To be a director of any museum is a complex, highly conflicted job. To be director of MoMA involves special pressures, which seem unique to the flagship American museum dedicated to collecting and reflecting on modern and contemporary art.
JUNE 2015 | ArtSeen
Fascinated with buildingswith their spaces, the light that plays around them, their human uses the paintings of this artist, which are works of great poetic beauty, carry an apparent objectivity. I quote from Gary Schwartzs account of the Dutch 17th-century painter Pieter Saenredam, which applies also word for word to Richard Estess pictures.
JUL-AUG 2015 | ArtSeen
The pleasures and perils of studio visits at provincial art schools are not unfamiliar to us critics. When you see what talented students have learned by imitating faculty artists from a previous generation, you recognize that these young people must move to an art center and radically innovate if they are to find an entry point into the contemporary art world.
NOV 2015 | ArtSeen
Both parts of this exhibition of fifteen small paintings by Eilshemius and twenty-two by Thompson are very interesting. And both challenge our received ideas of modernism. But whats puzzling is the conjunction of these two figures.
MAY 2014 | ArtSeen
For West Wall, Dwan Main Gallery (1967), a now classic exhibition presented in 2008 at Peter Blum, Chelsea, William Anastasi photographed an empty gallery, silkscreened that image onto a slightly smaller canvas, and installed that work on the wall, making the wall . . . a kind of ready-made mural, thus changing every show in that space thereafter.
JUNE 2014 | ArtSeen
Both born in 1494, Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino were apprenticed to the High Renaissance master Andrea del Sarto, and yet their careers proceeded very differently.
JUL-AUG 2014 | ArtSeen
For his first solo show in New York, Ryan Sawyer offered a challenging variation on now well-entrenched deconstructive themes. He stripped all of the copper from the drywall of the front room of the James Fuentes Gallery, and sold it in Brooklyn as scrap metal.
OCT 2014 | ArtSeen
A decade ago, the art historian James Elkins published On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art, a book that offered a highly suggestive observation. The United States is a very religious country, he noted, but very little contemporary art found in the mainstream galleries or museums presents religion in a positive way.
DEC 14-JAN 15 | ArtSeen
Normally, theres a visually obvious distinction between figurative and abstract paintings. John Constable shows English landscapes, while Jackson Pollocks large late-1940s abstractions depict nothing real.
FEB 2013 | ArtSeen
The art world is in love with Matisse. In the decade 2000-10 alone, he was in 74 museum shows, many with catalogues.
APR 2013 | Editor's Message
Nowadays ubiquitous, because galleries are so familiar, we perhaps do not sufficiently realize how distinctive they are.
SEPT 2013 | ArtSeen
In the mid- and late 1970s, a small group of young men and women in London and New York created a remarkably individual style of dress and music. The punks believed that by D.I.Y. (do it yourself), they could provoke revolutionary change.
NOV 2013 | ArtSeen
True to the spirit and intentions of street art, this vast and indeed wild exhibition organized by the city administration of Frankfurt took place everywhere but within the clean confines of the museum itself. The city of Frankfurt became the canvas upon which works were executed by about a dozen Brazilian taggers, writers, and graffiti artists who represented a plethora of genres.
DEC 13-JAN 14 | ArtSeen
Now and then we can learn much about the nature of painting thanks to the coexistence at one time of antithetical personalities, whose opposition reveals the changing limits of this medium. Titian (1490 1576) and Michelangelo
(1475 1564), like Ingres (1780 1867) and Delacroix (1798 1863), are such artist “frenemies.” So too are Sean Scully (b. 1945) and Christopher Wool (b.1955).
NOV 2012 | ArtSeen
Before MoMA was conceived, Albert Barnes (18721951) embarked upon an ambitious collecting program focused on Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Henri Matisse, and pre-Cubist Picasso.