Images from ‘Art in a Time of Chaos’

Some readers complained that the review of "Art in a TIme of Chaos," which is on view at the China Institute Gallery in NY through March 19, 2017, lacked photographs.  It is true that the works, dating from the 3rd to 6th centuries, are so varied it would have been great to have more images.  … Continue reading Images from ‘Art in a Time of Chaos’

Drawing to See

When the Philadelphia Museum of Art made sketchbooks available to visitors going through 'Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano' last year, the exercise proved very popular.  Visitors paused before floral compositions on gilded screens and paintings of Mt. Fuji, drawing what they saw.  Some tore out the sheets and pocketed them; others left their sketches in … Continue reading Drawing to See

Lines that caught my eye

Some stand-outs in recent WSJ reviews --  emphasis in bold added: The last line -- the kicker -- in  Richard B. Woodward's review of "Photo-Poetics: An Anthology" at the Guggenheim Museum: It’s no use complaining that in the wake of the “Pictures Generation” artists, many have lost faith in a more direct engagement between photography … Continue reading Lines that caught my eye

Why do we keep talking about ‘Islamic art?’

First of all the term "Islamic Art" is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest, as it suggests the art is religious in nature. The truth is the art was merely produced by a wide variety of cultures in predominantly Islamic regions. The term "Islamic Art" makes as much sense as "Catholic Art" as a blanket term for … Continue reading Why do we keep talking about ‘Islamic art?’

Escaping art history’s little boxes

It's the difference between a crisp line drawing and modeled, shaded painting with plenty of blurred lines.  Not as easy to describe in short sentences, but oh so rewarding.  That's how I feel about the shift in art history from a discipline of strict categories and linear progress to one that celebrates the porousness of … Continue reading Escaping art history’s little boxes

Beauty and meaning in a Roman villa’s paintings

Nobody knows who the villa belonged to except that they were wealthy, Roman, and keen to dazzle guests with their lavish residence on the flanks of Mount Vesuvius.  Not far from Pompeii in the town of Torre Annunziata, the 1st century villa was consumed by lava in the eruption of 79, an eruption so violent that it altered … Continue reading Beauty and meaning in a Roman villa’s paintings