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After seeing this show at the Whitney, we had a second chance to see it in San Francisco. It looked more impressive - and viewers had a better chance to contemplate the work - in Whitney's majestic space, not to mention that six pieces didn't make it. Nevertheless, it was still wonderful to take a journey through Stella's career. The earlier work from the 1960s (the Black paintings and their family) has an unparalleled clarity verging on spirituality, and remains a favorite. Later work is a playful balancing of forms, colors, and masses.
@ de Young Museum, San Francisco, through February 26
frank stella retrospective
An underwhelming show on a theme of theoretically infinite possibilities. Almost giving credit to those who proclaim that painting is dead, and representational painting even more so, most pieces in this show have no vision, no passion, and no ambition (there are few exceptions, including a quiet Alex Katz). Even the gallery itself seems to acknowledge defeat, from its banal, uninspiring title (just "Landscapes") to its shockingly disparaging press release, which treats artists as visual art historians rather than creators who believe in what they do: "For these artists the painting has lost its privileged place as an end in itself and instead is deployed like a type of scenography. Some artists in this exhibition are considered by the dominant discourse to be over-dedicated to technical proficiency, situating themselves somewhat outside of the 20th century avant garde tradition, while others pursue “bad art” for the sake of critique. Still others seek to realign the earnest attempt to depict one’s surroundings with a commitment to avant garde principles."
@ Marlborough Chelsea, through July 29
the female gaze
An extraordinary collection of items from Pergamos (Pergamon) that shows the unbelievably high level that Greek civilization achieved. You can see not only how it is the foundation of Western art and culture, but how relevant and appealing it is to our contemporary eyes. Don’t miss the oldest surviving fragment of the Odyssey, the intricate gold jewelry, the mosaic with street musicians, the bronze head from Kalymnos, and the fragment of a colossal head of a young man, just to name a few. It is a pity that more hasn’t survived the centuries.
@ The Metropolitan Museum of Art
We love art. We like looking at art, whether good or bad, and talking about it.