Sculpture

Shrine to Migrants in St. Peter's Square

Last month, in honor of  the Vatican’s World Day for Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis unveiled a three-ton shrine to migrants in St. Peter’s Square. Lumpen and inert, the addition is no surprise. Less and less is art conceived or promoted in terms of aesthetic value. It has become a form of advocacy journalism. Even in the Vatican, a repository of centuries of cultured achievement, political significance is the primary measure of artistic significance. St. Peter’s spanking-new monument squats in proximity to the luminous twin fountains by Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Continue Reading
It Ain't Bosh

“Charles,” said Cordelia, “Modern Art is all bosh, isn’t it.” “Great bosh.” “Oh, I’m so glad. I had an argument with one of our nuns and she said we shouldn’t try to criticize what we didn’t understand. Now I shall tell her I have had it straight from a real artist, and snubs to her.” —Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
Just because Waugh wrote it does not make it true. All the same, it is hard to blame him, writing as he was in the wake of Dada’s aggressive anti-art impulse. Continue Reading
Grashow vs. Ozymandias

A READER EMAILED ME TO TAKE ISSUE with a comment in the previous posting on James Grashow. The complaint was that my phrase create for the ages was a tad “overblown.” Point taken. Perhaps it would have been better, not so grandiloquent, to have said simply create for tomorrow. Create for the world our children will inherit. Create in the expectation of futurity rather than, in Grashow’s case, futility. Art that makes no gesture toward posterity is nothing more than a creature of the market.buy Continue Reading
Calder at the National Portrait Gallery

WE ARE SO FAMILIAR WITH ALEXANDER CALDER’S kinetic mobiles and painted stabiles, we forget that he was also a prolific portraitist.  Throughout his career, Calder (1898-1976) portrayed entertainment, sports, and art-world figures, including Josephine Baker, Jimmy Durante, Babe Ruth, and Charles Lindbergh, as well as colleagues , Fernand Léger, and Saul Steinberg, among others. Herewith, the museum’s introductory précis:
Typically, Calder worked in the unorthodox medium of wire, a flexible linear material, which he shaped into three-dimensional portraits of considerable character and nuance.
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A Tea Party in the Arts?

‘WHAT MIGHT A TEA PARTY IN ART LOOK LIKE?” That was the question asked by a reader in his response to yesterday’s aprés-election post. It is a delicious question. Poignantly quixotic, to be sure, but no less delightful for that. It deserves quoting in full for those of you who do not click through to comments:
Today we face the wasteland of a nihilistic official art world, daily on display at such sites as Art Forum or vernissage.tv, ruled by an Academy far more oppressive than any of the past owing to its belief in nothing more than the recitation of Soros/Code Pink politics and the exercise of its own arbitrary power.
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