• Aesthetics
  • Pitch Perfect

    Agnes Martin (Photo: Mildred Tolbert) From the newly released Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art, by Nancy Princenthal: Martin’s mature paintings (she destroyed most of her early work) are incontrovertibly right, in the sense that they convince us that not a single preliminary decision or incident of execution could have been changed without damage. Composed […]

  • 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
  • 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
  • A Resolute Materiality

    Jay Heikes, Ear of Dionysius, Collection Walker Art Center The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis will be mounting a show of paintings in February, their first group painting show in 10 years. Titled Painter Painter, the exhibit has been co-curated by Bartholomew Ryan and Eric Crosby. I was intrigued—and heartened—by their selection process, their view […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Feeling the Undercurrent

    Charles Burchfield, “Moon and Thunderhead” There are many craftsmen who paint pleasantly the surface appearances and are very clever at it. There are always a few who get at and feel the undercurrent, and these simply use the surface appearances selecting them and using them as tools to express the undercurrent, the real life. If […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Saville Wisdom

    Jenny Saville, photographed in her Oxford studio, June 2012. (Photograph: Pal Hansen for the Observer) Some memorable quotes about Jenny Saville from an article in the Guardian last year, Jenny Saville: ‘I want to be a painter of modern life, and modern bodies’: *** Painting is my natural language. I feel in my own universe […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Richter by the Sea

    I just returned from a week in the Outer Banks with my three sisters. Beautiful and remote, that slim slice of land felt even more so with whole sections of the road washed out from Hurricane Sandy and only traversable via 4 wheel drive. Later in the week the road was closed down altogether due […]

  • Recycled Slow Muse
  • The Innocence of Trees

    [Note: Recently I went in search of a particular post on Slow Muse from several years ago. In the process I found so many others that dealt with topics that are still, all these years later, speaking to me. So I have decided to start a recycling series. From time to time I’ll share content […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Olitski: The Landscape of His Dreams

    Greek Princess 8, 1976, Courtesy of Estate of Jules Olitski/Licensed by VAGA, New York, Photo by Lee Stalsworth Revelation: Major Paintings by Jules Olitski, is currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. (The show originated at the Kemper Art Museum in Kansas City, travels next to Toledo before opening within reach of […]