There is a room in the Guggenheim museum with a pervasive, musty smell that would be familiar to anyone in this country: The room is filled with tens of thousands of used dollar bills, some stained or wrinkled, others crossed with stray red or blue or black marks. Read More
The original Blinky Palermo was a small-time American gangster and boxing manager. In 1964, a 21-year-old German art student named Peter Heisterkamp (sometimes also, depending on how you parse his paternity, Stolle, Schwartze or Eichelmann) took on the outlandish name. The act of changing his name could be considered the earliest artwork in the quirky show “Blinky Palermo,” the first North American retrospective of the artist, curated by Lynne Cooke.
The exhibition is, appropriately, twinned (Palermo himself was a twin and often doubled motifs in his artwork), co-hosted by the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies Hessel Museum of Art and the Dia Art Foundation. While the Dia’s Palermo is more iconic, it is the Bard half of the show that shines. Read More
In 1967, a striking yet slight work by a South African artist named Azaria Mbatha was donated to the Museum of Modern Art. The richly patterned black and white work on paper, printed from a simple sheet of cut linoleum, was made at a school called the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Read More
Just as you might own a favorite piece of furniture from your parents’ house, Quentin Roosevelt II (1919-1948), Theodore Roosevelt’s grandson, first encountered the art of the “strange people known as Naxi,” as he later described them, around his family home in Oyster Bay; his father, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., and uncle, Theodore’s brother Kermit, had Read More
Towering Ambition: Picasso and Marie-Thérèse at Gagosian; Vladimir Tatlin at Tony Shafrazi; Donald Judd at David Zwirner
While much of New York’s art world is away on a European grand tour—starting with the Venice Biennale, moving on to Art Basel, the annual art fair in Switzerland, which opens next week, and winding up in London for a round of auctions—a handful of museum-worthy exhibitions make this a good time to visit Chelsea’s Read More
Everything But the Kitchen Sink: ‘Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage’ at Princeton University Art Museum
“I am a painter and I nail my pictures together,” Kurt Schwitters said to fellow artist Tristan Tzara in 1919. At a time when German art was a heady mix of Expressionism’s yellow cows, Cubist collage’s angular abstraction and Futurism’s dynamic diagonals, Schwitters, a 32-year-old former art student working in a factory in Hannover, had Read More
Today, art fairs bring the international avant-garde to every urban doorstep, but collectors once had to track it down for themselves. In the early 20th century, when Gertrude Stein wrote, “You can be a museum or you can be modern, but you can’t be both,” two sisters from Baltimore, Claribel and Etta Cone, amassed one Read More
I happened to visit Glenn Ligon’s midcareer retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum, provocatively titled “America,” the day Barack Obama released the long form of his birth certificate to the press. It was a fitting coincidence. The president and the artist, both black and (indisputably) American, were born only a year apart–Ligon in 1960 and Read More
Richard Serra is best known for his 50-ton steel Torqued Ellipses and site-specific sculptures, yet the intimate retrospective of his drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, organized by the Menil Collection and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, provides perhaps the most illuminating encounter yet with the Mick Jagger of American sculpture.
With Read More
Sonia Delaunay was not a designer for the faint of heart. Her name was on programs when the music was by Stravinsky, the films by Man Ray and the plays by Tristan Tzara. André Breton once stepped onstage to break the arm of an actor wearing her costume. Her early garments consisted of “poems in Read More