• Art Making
  • When a Stack of Bowls is a Chord

    Edmund de Waal installation currently on view at the Princeton Museum With the publication and international success of his family memoir, The Hare With Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal became a literary sensation before many knew he was, first and foremost, an artist whose specialty is ceramics. Notoriety tends to spills over, and soon his […]

  • Art World
  • Worthy Women

    Ocean, by Vija Celmins, 2003 (Photo: C4 Gallery) Dave Hickey has written about art by cantankerously taking down the academic art establishment, languaging his outrage in a spectrum that ranges from snarky to lyrical, oscillating in tone between a Walt Whitman-like effulgence to just one more Western cowboy dopey dude. He’s not my favorite critic […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Staying Curious

    Robert Irwin The one and only Robert Irwin, saying it in his inimitable plain speak: *** Some people call it “the inner life of the painting,” all that romantic stuff, and I guess that’s a way of talking about it. But shapes on a painting are just shapes on a canvas unless they start acting […]

  • Art Making
  • To Ponder and To Leap

    Engraving depicting Margaret Lucas Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, circa 1650. Photograph: Kean Collection/Getty Images. Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) was an English aristocrat, poet, essayist, playwright and scientist. At a time when most women writers were publishing anonymously, Cavendish published under her own name. She wrote about gender, power, manners, scientific method, and philosophy. Her book, “The […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Self Authority

    Installation view from George Wingate’s one day exhibit, Up Stairs In Sight,* a show of unconventional but undeniable brilliance by an artist more people should know Artistic gatekeeping. The role of the critic. The mantle of authority. The new democratization of how any of us can find, read, look and listen. Two years ago Morley […]

  • Art World
  • Stripped, or Fully Loaded

    Artist Tim Rice in his North Berkeley studio In Christopher Bollen‘s recent joint interview with Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith—the leading power couple in the world of art critics—the topic of studio visits came up. Neither Smith nor Saltz do them, and they listed a number of reasons why. Here is Saltz’s response: I think […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Refuge in the Not

    Motoi Yamamoto (Photo: My Modern Met) Roberta Smith‘s response to the recent art auctions, Art Is Hard to See Through the Clutter of Dollar Signs, included a quote that has taken on a life of its own and is showing up everywhere online. After describing the spectacle of all time high prices and hedge fund […]

  • 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 […]