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 […]

Should Art That Infuriates Be Removed?

We all encounter art we don’t like, that upsets and infuriates us. This doesn’t deserve to be exhibited, our brains yell; it should not be allowed to exist. Still, does such aversion mean that an artwork must be removed from view — or, worse, destroyed? This question has been at the heart of the controversy […]

Martin Creed’s Anti-Spectacle at the Park Avenue Armory

A kind of extended happening, or maybe a series of short ones, has gently taken over the Park Avenue Armory, one of the architectural gems of New York. Numerous moving parts, animate and inanimate, are involved, and they are all the doing of the British maverick Martin Creed, the first artist to be given the […]

Review: Drips, Dropped: Pollock and His Impact

Any exhibition of older art drawn from a museum’s permanent collection is a palm held out for us to read, a snapshot of the museum’s sense of its role over time, its present ambitions and its view of art history. Place two such exhibitions side by side and an especially intense and revealing frisson can […]

Alberto Burri, a Man of Steel, and Burlap

Alberto Burri’s prescient paintings — in patched, burned and otherwise abused burlap, plastic or wood — form a lavish, beautiful and admirable, if sometimes monotonous retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum. It presents an artist who is impressive less for the profundity of his work than for his consistency and his ideas, which remain very much […]

Review: Picasso, Completely Himself in 3 Dimensions

Many exhibitions are good, some are great and a very few are tantamount to works of art in their own right — for their clarity, lyricism and accumulative wisdom. The Museum of Modern Art’s staggering “Picasso Sculpture” is in the third category. Large, ambitious and unavoidably, dizzyingly peripatetic, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It sustains […]

On Kawara, Artist Who Found Elegance in Every Day, Dies at 81

On Kawara, a Conceptual artist who devoted his career to recording the passage of time as factually and self-effacingly as art would allow, died in late June in New York City, where he had worked for 50 years. He was 81. Working in painting, drawing and performance, Mr. Kawara kept himself in the background and […]

Critical Reduction: Jeff Koons at the Whitney

Can money buy critical immunity? It certainly seems so, judging by critics’ response to the Whitney Museum’s retrospective devoted to the most expensive living artist,Jeff Koons. In this week’s edition of Critical Reduction, we boil down eight critics’ takes on the shiny extravaganza, which, befitting of such a divisive artist, tend to be either vividly enthusiastic or vehemently dismissive. […]

Shapes of an Extroverted Life ‘Jeff Koons: A Retrospective’ Opens at the Whitney

There are so many strange, disconcerting aspects to Jeff Koons, his art and his career that it is hard to quite know how to approach his first New York retrospective, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s largest survey devoted to a single artist. First there are the notorious sex pictures from his “Made in Heaven” […]

Recapturing the Past, and Then Revising It – Julian Schnabel

Two Shows Offer a New Look at Julian Schnabel. At the moment, Julian Schnabel’s painting seems to be the art that dares not speak its name. Its influence is widely visible but rarely cited. You can see it in the work of artists from Joe Bradley to Oscar Murillo and all sorts of painters who […]

A Provocateur’s Medium: Outrage

The 2012 survey of the courageous Chinese artist Ai Weiweiseen at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington has finally arrived in New York, and is much improved. The show, “Ai Weiwei: According to What?,” which opens Friday at theBrooklyn Museum, has been beefed up throughout, but most notably by two installation pieces completed in 2013. One, “S.A.C.R.E.D.,” […]

25 Art World Women at the Top, From Sheikha Al-Mayassa to Yoko Ono

For centuries, the art world and art market were dominated by men—just look at Giorgio Vasari’sThe Lives of the Artists, or, more recently, Jonathan Jones’s all-male list of the greatest artworks ever—but that’s beginning to change. Women now occupy top positions in every sector of the art world, and though they are still paid less than their male colleagues […]

Cultural Entrepreneur Stefan Simchowitz on the Merits of Flipping, and Being a “Great Collector”

If you bring up the name Stefan Simchowitz in the company of art dealers, collectors, advisors, or other professionals, you are bound to get a vigorous reaction. A producer of Hollywood movies like “Requiem for a Dream” and a co-founder of MediaVast, the photo-licensing site that was sold to Getty Images in 2007 for $200 million, Simchowitz is one of […]

When a Form Is Given Its Room to Play

‘A World of Its Own,’ Examining Photography, at MoMA. Something old, something new, nothing borrowed and not enough color. A variation on the venerable bridal dress code pretty much sums up the Museum of Modern Art’s latest foray into its photography collection, “A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio.” In turn, the title of […]

A Squiggly, Neon-Lit Guide to Post-Minimalism

More so than Post-Impressionism or Post-Modernism, the genre of art known as Post-Minimalism is a particularly squirrely one to wrap one’s mind around—after all, what is there beyond Minimalism’s elegant reduction of art to pure form? The critic Roberta Smith may have put it best a few years ago when she described it as “that unruly early ’70s mix of Conceptual,Process, […]

Returning Home, but Always Going Forward Recent David Hockney Work at the de Young in San Francisco

At 76, David Hockney is in one of his primes, and apparently he knows it. Not for nothing is his exuberant, immersive survey at the de Young Museum here cheekily titled “David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition.” By then [early 1980’s] Mr. Hockney was one of the most popular of all living artists. Thousands of people […]

Martin Creed – A Complexity that Trumps Similarities

Sometimes I think the British artist-musician Martin Creed makes art for dummies, not excluding myself. At the same time, his accumulations and arrangements of everyday objects and materials initially seem so rudimentary and forthright that they can also make you feel smart. Roberta Smith reviews Martin Creed

Painting’s Endgame – Christopher Wool at the Guggenheim

Christopher Wool is one of many painters who have experimented with bringing their medium to extinction. They strip it of familiar attributes like imagery, brushwork or flatness, often ending up with some kind of monochrome that suggests the last painting that could possibly be made. Again and again, these works make viewers ask, in effect: […]