Layers of invention

There is much deception uncovered in the Sackler's "Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered.”  There is the question of whether the show's three central paintings are really by Kitagawa Utamaro, famous mostly for his ukiyo-e prints.  For that matter, was Utamaro himself the 17th-century Don Juan of the pleasure quarters that his marketers made him out to be?  And, … Continue reading Layers of invention

More about the Qin and the Han

Two shows could not be more complimentary in tone and emphasis than the Asian Art Museum's "Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China's Han Dynasty" and the Met's "Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties."  I won't repeat what I said in WSJ reviews (here and here) but instead talk about a few … Continue reading More about the Qin and the Han

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

David Byrd – a treasure trove of art

Wish I had been in Seattle for the show of David Byrd's paintings -- he is an amazing artist who has been laboring for decades without showing his work, just recording the world around him.  Seattle's PBS program, Art Zone, has a link to a 10-mn video about him which is well worth watching -- … Continue reading David Byrd – a treasure trove of art