February 2013

Axiom for Gallery-Goers

Before we get too far along together, it would be wise to clarify terms. The two that matter most are contemporary art and what can only be called, for lack of a better one, critical approach . More specifically, this weblog’s approach, its guiding axiom. The former is an objective category; the second, highly personal. So let us begin with the second, if only to set the stage—clear the decks, come clean—or whichever other cliché works best to bring the Big Picture into focus. Continue Reading
The Artist's Progress

Then: The Painter in His Studio (1647); Gerard Dou More then: Gera The Artist’s Studio; the Le Nain brothers (French, 17th C.) Still more then: Self-Portrait (1746); Luis Meléndez Then, yet again: John Francis Murphy in his studio at The Chelsea on W. 23 Street (Photo: Museum of the City of New York) Nowadays: MFA Student; School of the Art Institute of Chicago   Continue Reading
The Hazard of Beauty

Talk of beauty is in the air these days. It has been absent as a reigning value in contemporary art long enough to be provoking interest once again. It is a bit of a jumble though. Everyone wants in on the beauty of the philosophers while reserving for themselves the ascendency of their own taste and perceptions. The knot knocks even the best of us off course with little guide beyond the packaged insights of art appreciation. No less formidable a cultural critic than Roger Scruton is unsafe from the tools of the appreciator’s trade. Continue Reading
Homo Rogans

David Bentley Hart’s recent essay “ Seeing the God ” touched me more deeply than anything I have read in a very long time. For one piercing instant I felt myself sister to a fictional character in a second century picaresque novel. For the little time it took to read the column, Apuleius’ creation came alive. Lucius stood beside me, quite real. He took shape more clearly than secular friends who exchange copies of the latest neo-atheist tract at get-togethers. They make something of a show of it. Continue Reading