• Art History/Theory
  • Art and Politics

    Jamuna, pure pigment on canvas, by Natvar Bhavsar (Image: Asianart.com) Political language is a tongue, one that is optimally designed to infiltrate both thinking and feeling at the same time. Sarah Hurwitz, speechwriter for Michelle Obama, is a master at getting words to work at all those levels at the same time. Oratory brilliance takes me straight […]

  • Art History/Theory
  • Making Mystery a Solid Object

    Writing about the Agnes Martin exhibit that began at the Tate, moved to Düsseldorf, now at LACMA and (finally!) coming east to the Guggenheim in October, Hilton Als touches on some of my favorite aspects of Martin’s work. From The Heroic Art of Agnes Martin, in the New York Review of Books: On solitude and art making: “We have been […]

  • Antiquities
  • In the Fragments

    Fresco fragment from Piero della Francesca’s Legend of the True Cross, portraying Constantine’s victory over Maxentius in 312. In Arezzo, Italy, Cappella Bacci. I took hundreds of photographs while I was away, but the one I keep returning to is this fragment. A segment from one of the more damaged frescos by Piero della Francesca […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Leaving the Path at Any Moment

    Jack Whitten (Photo: Rose Art Museum) Yesterday I attended a symposium on the “status and stakes” of painting today. Most of the speakers were academics—art historians and curators whose business it is to categorize, systemize and prognosticate on where the world of art has been and where it is trending before it actually does. These […]

  • Aesthetics
  • RD: Personal Hero

    RD My friend Joshua Baer writes about wine with more creativity than anyone I know. (His reviews appear monthly in Santa Fe’s THE Magazine, and all his columns can be found on One Bottle.) Last month he blended a review of 2012 Comte Abbatucci Rosé “Cuvée Faustine” with his admiration for the artist Richard Diebenkorn […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Lessons from Bonnard

    In his essay on Pierre Bonnard, The Art of Making a World (included in his book, Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa), Michael Kimmelman relates a conversation he once had with the photographer Cartier-Bresson. While viewing a self-portrait by Bonnard, Cartier-Bresson said, “You know, Picasso didn’t like Bonnard and I can […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Pardon My Dyspepsia

    I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the work of Norman Rockwell. He used the techniques of illustration to paint a world that ignored complexity and captured some imagined untroubled time. As W. S. Di Piero points out in an essay about his work in When Can I See You Again?, “He represented […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Going the Distance

    “Untitled (Rorschach),” a 1999 work by Sigmar Polke.(Photo: Alistair Overruck/Estateof Sigmar Polke/Artists Rights Society) The current show of Sigmar Polke’s work at MOMA, Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963-2010, is staggeringly expansive. With 260 works of art filling 10 galleries plus the atrium, the curators wisely moved most of the accompanying text into a 30 page handout […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Into the Back Pages

    Early morning in Small Point Maine I just returned from a long weekend in Small Point, Maine. This quiet outcropping surrounded by the Atlantic on three sides has been my favorite migratory site for many years. Annual visits here are like the kitchen wall where penciled lines mark a child’s growth. This landscape is my […]