Museums Shake Things Up by Mixing Old and New

HAARLEM, the Netherlands — Frans Hals, a Dutch Golden Age portraitist of wealthy merchants and jolly rogues, was popular and successful in his lifetime, but before he died, he fell out of fashion. His loose, bold brush strokes were too rough for the 18th century. But the Impressionists rediscovered him in the 19th century, and […]

Adrian Piper: The Thinking Canvas

She’s an artist and scholar, and at “A Synthesis of Intuitions” you see thinking — about gender, racism, art — happening before your eyes. “Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965-2016” at the Museum of Modern Art is a clarifying and complicating 50-year view of a major American artist’s career. It is also an image-altering […]

My Life As a Failed Artist – Jerry Saltz

Decades after giving up the dream for good, an art critic returns to the work he’d devoted his life to, then abandoned — but never really forgot. It pains me to say it, but I am a failed artist. “Pains me” because nothing in my life has given me the boundless psychic bliss of making […]

Private Sales Offer Art for a Few Eyes Only

Private sales through auction houses are suddenly big, but are they new? “It was something that was kept under wraps at most of the houses for some time,” said David Schrader, who joined Sotheby’s last year as its head of private sales for contemporary art. “Now we’re being very vocal about it and putting more […]

Cy Twombly, Redefined by His Drawings

The gathering of works in Chelsea reconfigures the general sense of Twombly (1928-2011) as a lanky, slow-moving, ever-relaxed Southerner who worked in fits and starts and soaked up the good life on Italy’s Amalfi Coast or in Lexington, Va. — his birthplace, to which he returned in his later years. In its stead is a […]

Damien Hirst’s Post-Venice, Post-Truth World

The artist worked in secret on his first love, painting, for his new show. This is the anti-Venice, he says. LOS ANGELES — In army green camouflage and black sweats and with two heavy gold chains swinging with each step of his Nikes, Damien Hirst was in an unusually quiet mood. Sipping from a can […]

Answering Society’s Thorniest Questions, With Performance Art

Pope.L, photographed in his Chicago studio this past December. For the last four decades, the artist has created intense, often provocative performances. Now that he is not only an artist of renown but also a father and a professor, Pope.L’s ambivalence about his own authority hasn’t abated. If anything, his responsibilities have made him feel […]

Jasper Johns Still Doesn’t Want to Explain His Art

LOS ANGELES — Not long ago, Jasper Johns, who is now 87 and widely regarded as America’s foremost living artist, was reminiscing about his childhood in small-town South Carolina. One day when he was in the second grade, a classmate named Lottie Lou Oswald misbehaved and was summoned to the front of the room. As […]

Shock of the Nude

Turning bodies into paint brushes, Carolee Schneemann’s performances, films and art still startle, as a retrospective at MoMA PS1 shows. Some people in the art world say that #MeToo has gone too far. What modern misogynist will be yanked from museums next? Gauguin? Picasso? I say, sure, why not? Let’s set them aside for awhile, […]

New Damien Hirst Paintings to Be Exhibited in Stately British Home

The British artist Damien Hirst will exhibit new works from his series of spot paintings at a stately home in Britain. The exhibition, titled “Colour Space,” will open in March at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, in the southeast of England; the mansion was built in the 1720s for Britain’s first prime minister, Robert Walpole. Roughly 50 of […]

Torbjorn Rodland’s Puzzling Photos Are Unsettling and Arousing

One of the most striking images in the new retrospective of Torbjorn Rodland’s photographs currently on display at C/O Berlingreets visitors as they enter the exhibition. It is a picture of a young woman, lit from the side by a powerful red light, with honey streaming down her cheeks onto her chin. Like many of Mr. […]

Is Donald Trump, Wall-Builder-in-Chief, a Conceptual Artist?

Is Donald Trump a conceptual artist? That’s the intriguing possibility put forth in an online petition Tuesday that seeks to have the group of eight prototypes for Mr. Trump’s controversial Mexican border wall designated a national monument. The prototypes were built at a cost of $3.3 million in federal funds and unveiled last October along the United […]

Homage to Mexico: Josef Albers and His Reality-Based Abstraction

A radiant Guggenheim exhibition grounds the proto-Minimalist abstract paintings of Josef Albers in the geometric grandeur of Mesoamerican monuments. Art rarely thrives in a vacuum. It is by definition polyglot and in flux, buffeted by the movement of art objects, goods and people across borders and among cultures, and also by individual passion. This much, […]

Yayoi Kusama and the Amazing Polka-Dotted, Selfie-Made Journey to Greatness

The artist of “Infinity” rooms has become an Instagram darling.  But two new gallery exhibitions in New York show that she’s much more than that — an almost frighteningly fertile talent. Sometimes I think Yayoi Kusama might be the greatest artist to come out of the 1960s and one of the few, thanks in part […]

Coming Face to Face With Jimmie Durham

The sculptor’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum is a “brilliant, half-century-long act of politically driven self-invention,” our critic writes. “I feel fairly sure that I could address the entire world if only I had a place to stand,” the peripatetic American artist Jimmie Durham said in the 1980s. Now he has that place: the fifth […]

What It’s Like to Live With Art That Doesn’t Love You Back

At a time when art is as commodified as oil, a few collectors have chosen to buy works that are messy, perishable and threaten to take over their lives. PAUL LEONG, A YOUNG banker who lives in downtown Manhattan, spends an unusual amount of time thinking about square watermelons. He wonders where to get them, […]

Where the Wild Things Are: China’s Art Dreamers at the Guggenheim

BEIJING — The signature work at “Art and China After 1989,” a highly anticipated show that takes over the Guggenheim on Oct. 6, is a simple table with a see-through dome shaped like the back of a tortoise. On the tabletop hundreds of insects and reptiles — gekkos, locusts, crickets, centipedes and cockroaches – mill about under […]

Dick Bellamy: The Man Hiding at the Center of Everything

He was slight and unassuming with a bushy mop of dark hair and deep circles under his eyes hinting at the alcoholic dissipation of a poète maudit. His voice was a suggestive murmur, both musical and raspy from smoking too much. Most people called him Dick. To friends he would announce himself as George, a […]

When Dealers, Too, Were Romantics

“Dealers are as important as the artists themselves,” the gallery owner Leo Castelli once said. “Hecannot exist without us, and we cannot exist without him.” Gendered language aside, Castelli’s remark captures the fragile symbiosis between those who make art and those who sell it. Lately, however, dealers have been having trouble keeping up their end of […]

Ellsworth Kelly, Abstract to the End

On the eve of his 90th birthday in 2013, Ellsworth Kelly told me that working in his studio in Columbia County was “as exciting for me as ever.” “I have had some physical challenges related to aging, though I accept it,” the painter said. “But it has given me an added surge for continuing to […]