On the heels of the devastating earthquake in Italy's Amatrice and surrounding area, another shook parts of Myanmar, damaging temples in Mrauk U, Bagan and other areas. Here is a taste of what is imperiled, from photos I took on a trip in 2012 in Mrauk U and in Bagan.
It's a sunny afternoon in Brooklyn with a lovely, cool breeze. The windows are open, the laptop fired up, books and notes spread around me, and I'm all set to write... but, outside, cars, trucks and fire engines keep blasting their horns and instead of coherent thoughts taking shape, this image fills my mind. And … Continue reading Demons of distraction
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
Such a treat to spend a few hours at the Met in the company of An Ho going through its Masterpieces of Chinese Painting show. In the tradition of scholar artists, her teacher, Pu Ru, steeped her in calligraphy, philosophy and literature, laying the foundations for her work as a painter. At 87, An Ho's eye is as keen … Continue reading A wonderful reunion at the Met
The work of two artists in particular stopped me in my tracks at "Global/Local 1960–2015: Six Artists from Iran." The works are among the most recent in the show and, while they could not be more different, they are equally haunting. Without burdening them with words, here are some snapshots to entice you to go … Continue reading Wonderful show at Grey Gallery
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
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?’
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
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
Here are some more photos that relate to my WSJ review of two Japanese gardens. You can see images of the MFA Boston's garden in my earlier blog and here are photos I took in the Japanese garden of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.