John Updike’s visit to the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

In the June 23, 1956, issue of The New Yorker (available to subscribers), John Updike pens a droll report on the 49th Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit. “We put on our tennis shoes, removed our tie, rumpled our hair, and went down to look at it the other day, which was sunny. We approached by … read more… “John Updike’s visit to the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit”

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“A long-lapsed wish for art that is both of the moment and genuinely public”

Recently, while preparing my upcoming Washington Square project, I’ve been wondering why MFA-trained artists direct their work so specifically to the art cognoscenti rather than a wider, less art-savvy audience, so I was pleased to see Peter Schjeldahl thinking along the same lines in his recent review of the Met’s Augustus Saint-Gaudens show. After declaring … read more… ““A long-lapsed wish for art that is both of the moment and genuinely public””

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“Not that the writer’s job was to write a lot, or to register the self with a splash, but to get his or her real experience down”

In the New Yorker Adam Gopnik’s piece about John Updike reminds me how much painting and writing have in common. “John Updike was a fine colleague, a beaming platform presence, a valued contributor, a welcome visitor to the office, a genial supporter of younger writers—just a freelance writer living in Massachusetts, as he puckishly described … read more… ““Not that the writer’s job was to write a lot, or to register the self with a splash, but to get his or her real experience down””

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The Limner

This week The New Yorker’s short story, “The Limner” by Julian Barnes, is about an itinerant painter. Here’s an excerpt. “Mr. Tuttle had been argumentative from the beginning: about the fee—twelve dollars—the size of the canvas, and the prospect to be shown through the window. Fortunately, there had been swift accord about the pose and … read more… “The Limner”

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Measuring Marlene Dumas

Roberta Smith on Marlene Dumas: “The consistency of this show suggests an artist who settled too early into a style that needs further development. Stasis is disguised by shifting among various charged subjects that communicate gravity in shorthand. Ms. Dumas’s painting is only superficially painterly. The photographic infrastructure is usually too close to the surface, … read more… “Measuring Marlene Dumas”

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Process trumps product for late blooming artists

In The New Yorker, Malcom Gladwell contributes an article about late bloomers in which he looks at David Galenson‘s research comparing the careers of Picasso and Cézanne. “The examples that Galenson could not get out of his head were Picasso and Cézanne. He was an art lover, and he knew their stories well. Picasso was … read more… “Process trumps product for late blooming artists”

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Miró Miró on the wall

The New Yorker’s Peter Schjeldahl on the Miró show at MoMA: “‘I want to assassinate painting,’ Joan Miró is reported to have said, in 1927. Four years later, the Catalan modern master elaborated, in an interview: ‘I intend to destroy, destroy everything that exists in painting. I have utter contempt for painting.’ (He is quoted, … read more… “Miró Miró on the wall”

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Morandi: “I don’t ask for anything except for a bit of peace which is indispensable for me to work.”

The big Giorgio Morandi survey that opens this week at the Metropolitan Museum features over 100 paintings, drawings, watercolors and etchings. In the New Yorker Peter Schjeldahl writes that painting for Morandi was manual labor, first and last. “For a time, he ground his own pigments. He stretched his own canvases, constantly varying their proportions. … read more… “Morandi: “I don’t ask for anything except for a bit of peace which is indispensable for me to work.””

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NY Mag’s fall painting picks

“Giorgio Morandi: 1890–1964,” Metropolitan Museum, New York, NY. Sept. 16–Dec. 14.“When the master of quiet still lifes died, in 1964, he was unfashionable in New York and London yet revered in Italy. Today, Morandi’s pastel paintings of bottles give the illusion of time stilled. The visual equivalent of slow food.” “Alfred Kubin Drawings, 1897–1909” At … read more… “NY Mag’s fall painting picks”

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Anthony Lane’s tour de force

Anthony Lane’s seriously funny New Yorker review of “Mamma Mia!” is a must-read for anyone who likes criticism.”Like many people, I was under the impression that the new Meryl Streep film was called ‘Mamma Mia.’ The correct title is, in fact, ‘Mamma Mia!,’ and, in one keystroke, the exclamation mark tells you all you need … read more… “Anthony Lane’s tour de force”

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