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The Melville of Painting, Winslow Homer

The Atlantic

May, 2022

The Homer of The Gulf Stream is both more worldly and more elusive than the Homer of little red schoolhouses and sou’westers. And what the 90 or so paintings and watercolors assembled in “Crosscurrents” make clear is that the most salient quality of his art was never straightforwardness; it is his knack for using visual precision to demonstrate the limits of vision. We can see what is happening but not what will happen. He is the master of the ambiguous outcome, which also makes him the master of the unclear moral: Believe in the ship, and The Gulf Stream is a lesson in forbearance; believe in the waterspout, and it is a lesson in futility.

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Portraits and Politics

New York Review

October 7, 2021

It is hard, looking at the young Alessandro de’ Medici in Jacopo da Pontormo’s painting of 1534–1535, not to empathize. Long-nosed and tender-eyed, he has a moody Adam Driver gravitas. Though he is looking at us, his hands emerge from his vast black cloak to fiddle with stylus and paper, where a faint female profile can be seen. Reputedly

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Gerhard Richter

New York Review

May 14, 2020

The events of 1944 are beyond our reach. The subject of these paintings is not that world, but our own—the place where we actively choose to know or not know, see or not see. At the Met Breuer, the whole confab of paintings, facsimiles, and historical photographs is further multiplied by a thirty-foot stretch of gray

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Hilma af Klint

New York Review

April 4, 2019

When af Klint died in 1944, she left more than 1,200 paintings, 134 notebooks and sketchbooks, and more than 26,000 manuscript pages to her nephew, a vice-admiral in the Swedish navy. She also gave instructions that her work not be shown for twenty years after her death. The work is now being seen by thousands, though whether they are ready to receive its message is another question

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The House That Johns Built

New York Review

January 13, 2022

What has Johns done for us lately? Pretty much what he did for us in the first place: he continually disrupts the mental shorthand that converts complex visual experience into simple mental categories, with all their buttressing opinions, received wisdom, and personal preferences. In a world (including the art world) where “visuals” are used to simplify arguments and kindle beliefs, Johns reminds us that doubling, bifurcation, and uncertainty are the terms of vision itself.

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Knowing How: Art and Labor

New York Review

August 18, 2021

Glenn Adamson and Alan Sekula take different approaches and rely on different areas of expertise, but the central story they tell is the same: how expressions of mind have gained hegemony over manipulations of matter, and what has been damaged in the process.

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The History of Art History

New York Review

September 24, 2020

Art history is, inevitably, a story imposed on a selected group of artifacts by people who, consciously or unconsciously, have predilections and agendas. Ideally, the story grows from the objects, and the question of which objects is what animates both conservative critics and the protesters in the streets. .

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Women's Work

New York Review

March 26, 2020

Perseverance gets celebrated a lot, strategic tractability less so, but one of several important lessons conveyed by “Five Hundred Years of Women’s Work: The Lisa Unger Baskin Collection” was that adaptability is a lifesaver. Hosted by New York’s private Grolier Club, the nation’s preeminent bibliophilic society, this dense and discursive exhibition included some two hundred objects, mostly books, selected from the more than 16,000 accumulated by the

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Sybil & Cyril: Dynamism, Domesticated

New York Review

March 10, 2022

Between-the-wars has become a popular trope of film and television—cloche hats and people huddled before enormous radios—but Uglow gives us something else: thinking people navigating a world that was not just different from our own but also different from the one that nostalgia had imposed on them. Sybil and Cyril may have been adventurous and “modern,” but they spent as much time looking backward as looking forward.

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Philip Guston

New York Review

January 14, 2021

Like the cigarettes and bottles, like the eye that looks insatiably but never grows a hand to fix what it sees, the hood signals a history of poor decisions and ineffectual resolutions that may or may not include mob violence. It is the kind of bad that can find a home beneath all kinds of headgear

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Vija Celmins

New York Review

December 5, 2019

“To Fix the Image in Memory” is an important show for many reasons, but mainly because it puts looking before speaking. It is enjoyable because Celmins’s affection for images is contagious, and it is critical because her affection does not imply gullibility—all of that looking is used to dig into just what makes images tick. 

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Poons v. Koons: ‘The Price of Everything’

New York Review

January 19, 2019

Though the art market is often described as capricious, it has a clear logic: the art that commands the most money at a given moment is that which best reflects its collectors’ view of themselves—pious or powerful, beautiful or deep. Edlis observes, with self-deprecating charm, that “to be an effective collector, deep down you have to be shallow.” Koons—whose shiny objects, vendor-babble, and dead smile recur like a fugal motif throughout the film—has provided this service for decades, celebrating the crass while flattering his buyers that they are clever and superior for being in on the joke.

some other articles

Bits and Pieces: 400 Years of Collage

Print Quarterly, March 2021

The Edge of Visibility 

Art in Print, Sep-Oct 2018

Richter and Polke

Art in Print, Jul-Aug 2018

Martin Puryear

Art in Print, Sep-Oct 2013

Jasper Johns and the Logic of Print

Art in Print, Sep-Oct 2012

Richter and Polke

Art in Print, Jul-Aug 2018 

Christian Marclay: to the Last Syllable of Recorded Time 

Art in Print, Nov-Dec 2016

Julie Mehretu’s Syrian Elegy

Art in Print, Jul-Aug 2016

Low Heaven: Vermeer and Mourning 

The Brooklyn Rail  May 201g

Frameless: Wall Works in Berlin 

Art in Print Sep-Oct 2014