Willem de Kooning is generally credited for coming out of the painterly gates strong in the forties, revolutionizing art and abstraction and reaching incredible heights by the early fifties, and then tailing off.
I wish I could write about shows outside New York. I often feel like the last person to know anything, because I almost never get to leave town, and when I do, I tend to go for three days max. Seeing between 30 and 40 shows a week in 100 or so galleries and museums takes up nearly all my time.
Rumors sound of galleries asking artists for upsized art and more of it. I've heard of photographers asked to print larger to increase the wall power and salability of their work. Everything winds up set to maximum in order to feed the beast.
A sad fact of life lately at the Museum of Modern Art is that when it comes to group shows of contemporary painting from the collection, the bar has been set pretty low.
Although I adore the Italian High Renaissance, I'd rather look at Mannerism. The former is ordered, integrated, otherworldly, and grandiose; it leaves you feeling hungry for something flawed and of-the-flesh.
Turns out Picasso's passion for uncertainty, mystery, and the thrill of life never ended.
Once artists are expected to shock, it's that much harder for them to do so.
I have never really cooked, don't know how to use my dishwasher, and subsist mainly on prepared deli takeout. I don't even eat in restaurants much.
Money is something that can be measured; art is not. It's all subjective.
I see around 100 shows a month, going from Niketown-size palaces where you feel like yelling, to storefronts in Bushwick. Each has to pay the bills; keep artists happy; and cope with collectors (oy!), curators (ay-yi-yi), critics (woo-hoo!), and occasionally plumbers. That their fiscal life often hangs in the balance only adds to the energy.
Biennial culture is already almost irrelevant, because so many more people are providing so many better opportunities for artists to exhibit their work.
The greatest work of art about New York? The question seems nebulous. The city's magic and majesty are distilled in the photographs of Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand.
Abstraction is one of the greatest visionary tools ever invented by human beings to imagine, decipher, and depict the world.
'The Panorama' is also the last place anywhere in New York where the World Trade Center still stands, whole, as it stood in the early morning of September 11. I can also see the corner where I saw the first tower fall and howled out loud. Seeing the buildings again here is uplifting, healing.
The reason the art world doesn't respond to Kinkade is because none - not one - of his ideas about subject-matter, surface, color, composition, touch, scale, form, or skill is remotely original. They're all cliche and already told.
Many say an art dealer running a museum is a 'conflict of interest.' But maybe the art world has lived an artificial or unintentional lie all of these years when it comes to conflicts of interest.
I like something about George W. Bush. A lot. After spending more than a decade having almost physiological-chemical reactions anytime I saw him, getting the heebie-jeebies whenever he spoke - after being sure from the start that he was a Gremlin on the wing of America - I really like the paintings of George W. Bush.
Decades ago, Gerhard Richter found a painterly philosopher's stone. Like Jackson Pollock before him, he discovered something that had been in painting all along, always overlooked or discounted.
The forties, seventies, and the nineties, when money was scarce, were great periods, when the art world retracted but it was also reborn.
Giorgio Morandi's paintings make me think that artists may not totally choose, or even control, their subjects or style.
I rage against Vincent van Gogh for needing to die at 37, after painting for only ten years.
First let me report that the art in the Barnes Collection has never looked better. My trips to the old Barnes were always amazing, but except on the sunniest days, you could barely see the art. The building always felt pushed beyond its capacity.
Chris Ofili's suave, stippled, visually tricked-out paintings of the nineties, with their allover fields of shimmering dots and clumps of dung, are like cave paintings of modern life. They crackle with optical cockiness, love, and massive amounts of painterly mojo.
Artistic qualities that once seemed undeniable don't seem so now. Sometimes these fluctuations are only fickleness of taste, momentary glitches in an artist's work, or an artist getting ahead of his audience (it took me ten years to catch up to Albert Oehlen). Other times, however, these problems mean there's something wrong with the art.
A lot of people still think caring about clothes is a dubious, unserious, frivolous, girlie thing.
Now people look at 'The Scream' or Van Gogh's 'Irises' or a Picasso and see its new content: money. Auction houses inherently equate capital with value.
I know it's dangerous to take on bloggers. They can go after you every day, all day long, and anonymous people can chime in, too.
Outside museums, in noisy public squares, people look at people. Inside museums, we leave that realm and enter what might be called the group-mind, getting quiet to look at art.
After 1909, Monet drastically enlarged his brushstrokes, disintegrated his images, and broke through the taming constraints and delicacy of Impressionism for good. Nineteen gnarly paintings, starting in 1909 and carrying through his final seventeen years, finish off the notion that Monet went happily ever after into lily-land.
Many museums are drawing audiences with art that is ostensibly more entertaining than stuff that just sits and invites contemplation. Interactivity, gizmos, eating, hanging out, things that make noise - all are now the norm, often edging out much else.
Venice is the perfect place for a phase of art to die. No other city on earth embraces entropy quite like this magical floating mall.
The secret of food lies in memory - of thinking and then knowing what the taste of cinnamon or steak is.
I love Rauschenberg. I love that he created a turning point in visual history, that he redefined the idea of beauty, that he combined painting, sculpture, photography, and everyday life with such gall, and that he was interested in, as he put it, 'the ability to conceive failure as progress.'
John Baldessari, the 79-year-old conceptualist, has spent more than four decades making laconic, ironic conceptual art-about-art, both good and bad.
It took me twenty years to get Steven Parrino's work. From the time I first saw his art, in the mid-eighties, I almost always dismissed it as mannered, Romantic, formulaic, conceptualist-formalist heavy-metal boy-art abstraction.
In the seventies, a group of American artists seized the means not of production but of reproduction. They tore apart visual culture at a time of no money, no market, and no one paying attention except other artists. Vietnam and Watergate had happened; everything in America was being questioned.
When I criticize Joseph Beuys or Francis Bacon, nobody calls those opinions anti-male. Putting female artists or their subject matter off-limits is itself sexist and limiting.
A canon is antithetical to everything the New York art world has been about for the past 40 years, during which we went from being the center of the art world to being one of many centers.
Think of an abstract painting as very, very low relief - a thing, not a picture.
Anyone who relishes art should love the extraordinary diversity and psychic magic of our art galleries. There's likely more combined square footage for the showing of art on one New York block - West 24th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues - than in all of Amsterdam's or Hamburg's galleries.
When museums are built these days, architects, directors, and trustees seem most concerned about social space: places to have parties, eat dinner, wine-and-dine donors. Sure, these are important these days - museums have to bring in money - but they gobble up space and push the art itself far away from the entrance.
Many art-worlders have an if-you-say-so approach to art: Everyone is so scared of missing out on the next hot artist that it's never clear whether people are liking work because they like it or because other people do. Everyone is keeping up with the Joneses, and there are more Joneses than ever.
Appropriation is the idea that ate the art world. Go to any Chelsea gallery or international biennial and you'll find it. It's there in paintings of photographs, photographs of advertising, sculpture with ready-made objects, videos using already-existing film.
All art comes from other art, and all immigrants come from other places.
It took the Metropolitan Museum of Art nearly 50 years to wake up to Pablo Picasso. It didn't own one of his paintings until 1946, when Gertrude Stein bequeathed that indomitable quasi-Cubistic picture of herself - a portrait of the writer as a sumo Buddha - to the Met, principally because she disliked the Museum of Modern Art.
If only we could persuade galleries to observe a fallow period in which, for two months every other year, new and old works of art could be sold in back rooms and all main galleries would be devoted to revisiting shows gone by.
The last time money left the art world, intrepid types maxed out their credit cards and opened galleries, and a few of them have become the best in the world.