Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

AICA-USA hands out criticism awards

The United States chapter of the International Association of Art Critics did something new this year: It gave out awards not just for curatorial achievement (as it has for many years), but for “critical excellence” as well.

AICA chose Holland Cotter of The New York Times as the winner of the “best criticism” award, and gave Barry Schwabsky second place for his book “Words for Art: Criticism, History, Theory Practice.” The Brooklyn Rail won for “best art reporting,” with second place going to The New Yorker’s Nick Paumgarten for his profile of dealer David Zwirner.

Finally, it was rather neat to find out the winner for “best blog” was, well, Modern Art Notes. Mira Schor took second place. The announcement included mention of The Modern Art Notes Podcast, which posts here on Thursdays (as well as to iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, RSS and MANPodcast.com.)

I’ve never won an award before, so this is kind of cool. It’s especially gratifying because I was nominated for the award by a committee that included David Pagel, whose work I’ve long admired and to whom I’ve quite, quite often linked, and because AICA members themselves voted the winners. I’ve been an AICA member for probably ten or eleven years now. Still, I’ve never quite felt like I’m in the club.

But it’s also good to see independent, digitally-published work recognized because that’s where most of the energy in writing about art is these days. Witness Greg Allen’s take on President George W. Bush’s paintings earlier this week, a write-up that found something new and newsworthy in a subject most others had merely reacted to and at. Or William Poundstone, whose smart, often instructive posts make me wish I’d thought of this or discovered that first. Or look at how Hyperallergic has matured into a meaningful source on (mostly) New York, such as with this look at art education in the city.

Finally, I know you don’t have to read this site. This isn’t legacy media, the sort of publication you have to read to know what’s going on in the world, or the kind of site that everyone reads so they know what to discuss at the water cooler. So thanks for stopping by.

Takeover delay?

Yesterday was supposed to be the day by which the terms of the National Gallery of Art’s takeover of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the George Washington University’s assumption of the Corcoran College of Art and Design was set. The institutions told the Washington Post that April 7 was the “deadline” to “set the details.” (However, as the congregants noted here, the reason April 7 was a “deadline” was never clear. As the congregants also noted, and repeatedly, ‘lack of clarity’ seems to be a consistent theme at the NGA these days.)

Yesterday: Crickets. So is it dead?

Apparently not. Last night on Twitter, David Montgomery, the ace Post reporter on all things Corcoran-disaster-related, said that he thinks news on the takeover will be out by May 1.

The Monday Checklist

1.) Must-read review: Timothy Rub in the Wilmington News-Journal on art museums and stewardship.

2.) Critical thoughts (edition of two-plus): Roberta Smith in the NYT (and from Dallas) on an ex-president’s hobby. (TJ Clark would disagree with Smith on the biographical point. His Mellon Lectures address such.) Martin Gayford in the Telegraph on Veronese and the battle he picked.

3.) Must-read journalism: Michael Granberry in the Dallas Morning News on how Dallas’ Museum Tower may be backing down from its torching of/conflict with the Nasher Sculpture Center.

4.) Journalism (edition of four): Steve Johnson in the Chicago Tribune on the “Art Everywhere” project. Nick Squires in the Telegraph on a tiny Caravaggio self-portrait. Jennifer Maloney in the WSJ on Tom Finkelpearl, the new NYC cultural affairs commissioner. Benjamin Sutton on Artnet with Jim Campbell. [Image above: Jim Campbell, Exploded Views (Improv), 2011-12. Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.]

5.) Museum feature (print): The Cortauld Institute on a hidden Seurat self-portrait.

6.) Museum feature (audio/visual): The National Gallery of Art has already begun posting this year’s Mellon Lectures online. This year’s lecturer is Anthony Grafton. His subject is “Past Belief: Visions of Early Christianity in Renaissance and Reformation Europe.” Here is his first lecture (of six).

7.) Three tweets: From Julia Halperin. From Hillary Shields. From Carolina Miranda.

8.) Twitter feed to follow: The Burlington Magazine.

9.) Tumblr feed to follow: Photographs on the Brain.

10.) This week on The Modern Art Notes Podcast: The show spotlights the latest issue of Aperture magazine, titled, “Documentary, Expanded.” The guests are Hito Steyerl, Emily Schiffer, Teru Kuwayama and Talia Herman. How to listen: Download the show directly to your PC/mobile device. Listen on SoundCloud. Subscribe to The MAN Podcast at iTunesSoundCloudStitcher or via RSS.

11.) Other Modern Art Notes Podcast news: Mary Reid Kelley’s work is on view at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in “Rose Video 03: Maria Lassnig and Mary Reid Kelley.” Hear from Reid Kelley on Episode No. 90 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast. [Image below, right: Kelley, Sadie, the Saddest Sadist (detail of still), 2009.]

12.) Web-accessible sound/video art: Yvonne Rainer, Hand Movie, 1966. Via Greg Allen’s Top Ten Sixteen List for UbuWeb.

13.) Artwork image in the public domain: John Singleton Copley, Sarah Sherburne Langdon, 1767. Collection of the Dallas Museum of Art. Included/offered in the “Art Everywhere” project.

14.) Art book in the public domain: “American Icons: Transatlantic Perspectives on Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century American Art,” edited by Thomas W. Gaehtgens and Heinz Ickstadt. Published by Getty Publications.

15.) Non-art must-read: Dan LeBatard on ESPN.com on understanding where Yasiel Puig comes from.

Craft beer Fridays: Uinta Detour

Uinta Detour Double IPA: Aroma of honey and pine cone. Flavors of stone fruit, and something sweet and high-register, like schnapps. There’s lots of sweet here and almost no malt presence. Some faint grapefruit at the finish (and still more sweetness).

ABV: 9.5%.

My rating: 3.5.

RateBeer rating: 97 overall, 85 for style, weighted average of 3.66.

Brewery: Uinta Brewing Co., Salt Lake City.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast: Aperture #214

This week’s Modern Art Notes examines the new Aperture magazine (#214), which explores the growth and evolution of documentary photography.

The guests on this week’s program are:

Hito Steyerl, featured in Aperture #214 e-mailing with Bard professor Thomas Keenan about the role photographs play as a document of something that happened (or may have happened). Steyerl is a Berlin-based artist and filmmaker whose work often examines the mass proliferation of digital images. The Institute of Contemporary Arts London is showing her work in the exhibition “Hito Steyerl,” which runs through April 27. (In association with the exhibition, Steyerl has created a two-part edition for free download. Check it out.)

Emily Schiffer, whose “See Potential” project is featured in Aperture#214. She has received grants from the Open Society Foundation and the Magnum Foundation. “See Potential” was a project that used documentary photography to address the neglect of Chicago’s traditionally black neighborhoods. Working with Orrin Williams, the founder of the Center for Urban Transformation, Schiffer designed a project that identified community goals and that solicited community feedback on potential changes in those communities. During the program Schiffer mentions the work of Tonika Johnson and of Carlos Javier Ortiz.

Teru Kuwayama, who discusses his 2010-11 project “Basetrack” in Aperture #214. Kuwayama has received fellowships from the Hoover Institution, TED, the Dart Center at Columbia University and at Stanford. ”Basetrack” embedded five photographers embed within a Marine battalion in Afghanistan that was focused on counterinsurgency. The project documented the battalion’s work through photography and a specific, targeted use of social media platforms such as Flickr and Facebook. While the project is no longer on line in its original form, it is residually available at Facebook, Flickr, Vimeo and especially at Kuwayama’s Instagram page. Kuwayama also mentioned the project “30 Mosques.”

Talia Herman, a California-based journalist and photographer. Herman is a graduate of the International Center of Photography’s Documentary and Photojournalism Program and has worked on projects for The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Google and Men’s Journal. Last week Al Jazeera America featured Herman’s work in “Getting By,” part of the organization’s ongoing examination of poverty in America. As part of “Getting By,” AJAM asked people living below the federal poverty line to share their stories. Russ Bowers of Guerneville, Calif., wrote in, and AJAM selected his story to tell through his own words and through Herman’s pictures. Herman and I also discussed this image of the California drought. [Image: Talia Herman, untitled, 2014. The image is of Bowers' 'hippie jar.']

Aperture #214: Check out the table of contents for Aperture #214, and purchase a copy for under $20. Subscribe to a full year of the magazine for $75.

How to listen: Download the show directly to PC/mobile device. Listen on SoundCloud. Subscribe to The MAN Podcast at iTunesSoundCloudStitcher or via RSS. Stream the program at MANPodcast.com.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. The program is edited by Wilson Butterworth. The MAN Podcast is released under this Creative Commons license.

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Monet and the shiny new bridge

As you may have heard by now, the second segment of this week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Saint Louis Art Museum curator Simon Kelly talking about “Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet,” which is on view at SLAM through July 6. Kelly co-curated the exhibition with Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art curator April M. Watson.

Fortunately, and despite the show’s title, “Impressionist France” isn’t a project about impressionist painting. Instead, it’s a look at how artists — both painters and photographers — engaged with and helped shape France’s emerging national identity between 1850-80, a period during which France cycled through several governments and lost the Franco-Prussian War (and along with it Alsace and Lorraine) to Germany. The exhibition’s catalogue, available from Amazon for under $30, is one of the smartest catalogues of 19th-century French history and art history I’ve seen in a number of years.

Here are a couple of images that suggest the book’s thrust. (I have not seen the exhibition.) The picture at the top of this post is Jules Andrieu’s photograph Disasters of the War: Pont d’Argenteuil from 1870 or 1871. It’s at the National Gallery of Canada and it’s in the SLAM/Nelson-Atkins book. The railroad bridge in the picture was destroyed by a German attack.

In a famed series of paintings, Claude  Monet celebrated the post-war rebuilding of that same bridge, a series of paintings that effectively argue that French greatness had returned after the humiliating defeat of 1870 (and after the Commune of 1871, for that matter). The Philadelphia painting is in the SLAM exhibition.

Listen to or download The MAN Podcast on SoundCloud, via direct-link mp3, or subscribe to The MAN Podcast (for free) at:

Claude  Monet, The Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil, 1873.

Claude  Monet, The Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil, 1873-84. Collection of the Musee d’Orsay, Paris.

Claude  Monet, Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, 1874. Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The logging and the mudslide

Timothy Egan, one of our best writers on the West, wrote in the NYT yesterday about the utter predictability of the Snohomish County, Wash. mudslide that killed 24 people. (Almost two dozen more remain missing.) Egan, who in 2010 wrote a marvelous book about our forests, tells the story of a visit he made to Washington years ago, into an area that had been over-logged and the then-active mudslide he saw. He described what he saw then as “saturated earth that was melting, like candle wax.” Then Egan drew the line of connection between logging and last month’s mudslide:

[S]ure enough, logging above the area of the current landslide appears to have gone beyond the legal limits, into the area that slid, according to a report in The Seattle Times.

Yes, but who wants to listen to warnings by pesky scientists, to pay heed to predictions by environmental nags, or allow an intrusive government to limit private property rights? That’s how these issues get cast. And that’s why reports like the ones done on the Stillaguamish get shelved…

Perhaps the people who don’t wish to scientists might consider looking at the pictures of Robert Adams. Over the last 40 years Adams has taken pictures of Pacific Northwest landscapes scarred by environment-destroying clear-cutting. A few are below. More are in Adams’ extraordinary 2005 book “Turning Back,” and in the three-volume publication of Adams’ work the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale University Press published in 2011. (The retrospective exhibition for which it was published is now at the Jeu de Paume in Paris.) Adams and I also discussed these issues when he was a guest on The Modern Art Notes Podcast.

Robert Adams, Clear-cut and Burned, East of Arch Cape, Oregon, 1976. Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Robert Adams, Clear-cut and Burned, East of Arch Cape, Oregon, 1976. Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Robert Adams, Clatsop County, Oregon, from the series “Turning Back,” 1999-2003.

Robert Adams, Coos County, Oregon, from the series “Turning Back,” 1999-2003.

Robert Adams, Clatsop County, Oregon, from the series “Turning Back,” 1999-2003.

The Monday Checklist

1.) Must-read review: Steven Litt in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on the condition of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

2.) Critical thoughts (edition of six): Karen Rosenberg on Maria Lassnig at PS1. Brian Phillips and Judy Murray in Grantland on Yoko Ono. Sebastian Smee in the Boston Globe on Hans Op de Beeck at the MIT List Visual Arts Center. Fernanda Eberstadt in the NYT on Siri Hustvedt’s Guerilla Girls-tinged art-world novel. Alexandra Lange on Dezeen on Mexico’s national anthropology museum vs. the New York museum experience. Andrew Russeth in Gallerist/NYO on “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties” at the Brooklyn Museum. [Image at top: Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as a Lute Player, 1616-18. Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn.]

3.) Must-read journalism: Martin Coomer in Time Out London with Phyllida Barlow.

4.) Journalism (edition of eight): Ted Loos in the NYT on Tadao Ando, Michael Conforti and the Clark Art Institute. Mike Boehm in the LAT on the Delaware Art Museum’s widely criticized plan to sell art. Philip Boroff in Artnet News on executive salaries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Jen Graves in The Stranger on Ann Hamilton’s forthcoming Seattle project. Raphael Minder in the NYT on Portugal’s hoped-for Miro sale. Deborah Vankin in the LAT on Helen Pashgian at LACMA. Kelly Crow in the WSJ on the forthcoming season of Whistler (which failed to include Daniel E. Sutherland’s new biography of the artist). Mostafa Heddaya in Hyperallergic on the latest Guggenheim protest. [Image: President Obama at the Rijksmuseum, by Pete Souza.]

5.) Museum/institutional feature (print): Yao Jui-chung on Creative Time Reports on Taiwan’s ‘mosquito halls.’

6.) Museum feature (audio/visual): A 2005 conversation between Marilyn Minter and Joshua Sharkey at SFMOMA, newly uploaded to SFMOMA’s SoundCloud page.

7.) Three tweets: From Phyllis Tuchman. From Javier Pes. From Mark B. Schlemmer.

8.) Twitter feed to follow: Eva Respini, Museum of Modern Art, New York curator (and curator of “Robert Heinecken: Object Matter”).

9.) Tumblr feed to follow: It’s Never Summer. [Image at right: Phyllida Barlow, dock (a commission at the Tate Britain that opens today), 2014.]

10.) This week on The Modern Art Notes Podcast: From the Brooklyn Museum’s “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties” exhibition, Barkley L. Hendricks. Also, the co-curator of the oddly titled “Impressionist France” at the Saint Louis Art Museum, Simon Kelly. How to listen: Download the show directly to your PC/mobile device. Listen on SoundCloud. Subscribe to The MAN Podcast at iTunesSoundCloudStitcher or via RSS.

11.) Other Modern Art Notes Podcast news: Phyllida Barlow’s Duveen Commission at the Tate opens today. Barlow was the guest for the full hour on Episode No. 109, when she was on view in the Carnegie International.

12.) Web-accessible sound/video art: Lisa Oppenheim, Smoke (Channel 1, Channel 2), 2013. On view now at MASS MoCA in “The Dying of the Light: Film as Medium and Metaphor.”

13.) Artwork in the public domain: Edouard Manet, The Rue Mosnier with Flags, 1878. Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Included in the exhibition “Impressionist France” at the Saint Louis Art Museum. For more on the painting the context of “Impressionist France,” see these two images on MANPodcast.com.

14.) Art book in the public domain: “The Photographs of Édouard Baldus,” by Malcolm Daniel. Published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Baldus is prominently featured in “Impressionist France.” [Image at right: Baldus, Viaduc de St. Chamus, before 1859. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.]

15.) Non-art must-read: Mark Danner in the New York Review of Books with “He Remade Our World,” on Dick Cheney.

Last night’s Corc-NGA-GWU panel now online

The audio from the conversation Washington Post art/architecture critic Philip Kennicott, Architect magazine senior editor and Washington CityPaper contributor Kriston Capps and I had last night about the Corcoran-National Gallery of Art-George Washington University situation is now online.

Three quick takeaways:

  • For many years, the legacy media in Washington have treated the National Gallery of Art with great deference, as if it was an institution to be honored rather than examined. Well, not any more. For the first time in the 15-plus years I’ve been in Washington, the city’s critical community substantially agrees on something: That the NGA is no longer beyond probative criticism. The panel unloaded on the NGA, and nearly every criticism of the institution was met with nods and even Sunday-at-church-style that’s rights from the audience. (Nor was the surprising critical near-consensus on the NGA limited to issues related to the NGA’s proposed takeover of the Corcoran). NGA leaders would be wise to listen closely, to take the community’s criticisms seriously — and then to make meaningful changes in how it operates.
  • The panelists were in agreement at the District of Columbia attorney general may be able to impact the presumed Corcoran/NGA/GWU deal. Ace Post reporter David Montgomery suggested he’ll be looking into how the AG could play a role.
  • Washington takes seriously the Corcoran’s long-standing role as the custodian of the city’s art history. The NGA must find a way to address that issue.

In addition to the audio of last night’s conversation, the Post has provided a handy reading list of what Capps, Kennicott and I have written on the story.

The MAN Podcast: Barkley Hendricks

This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Barkley L. Hendricks.

Hendricks is included in the Brooklyn Museum exhibition “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties,” which examines how 66 artists addressed the civil rights struggle in their work. Curated by Teresa Carbone and Kellie Jones, the show is on view through July 6. The exhibition’s handsome catalogue is available from Amazon for under $30.

In 2008 Hendricks was the subject of a major retrospective organized by Trevor Schoonmaker for the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The exhibition traveled to Houston, Philadelphia, New York and Santa Monica.  His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Tate, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Harvard Art Museums.

Among the topics we discuss are:

  • Whether Hendricks sought to address the civil rights movements in his work;
  • Whether like Kerry James Marshall and other artists of their generation if Hendricks explicitly sought to insert black figures into the canon;
  • The genesis of his ‘limited palette’ series, which are portraits that feature the sitters and the backgrounds of the same color; and
  • How his extensive world travels has informed his work.

On the second segment, Saint Louis Art Museum curator Simon Kelly talks about “Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet,” which is on view at the SLAM through July 6. Kelly co-curated the exhibition with Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art curator April M. Watson. Despite the show’s title, this isn’t really an exhibition of impressionist painting. Instead it looks at how artists — both painters and photographers — engaged with and helped shape France’s emerging national identity between 1850-80, a period during which France cycled through several governments and lost the Franco-Prussian War (and along with it Alsace and Lorraine) to Germany. The exhibition’s catalogue, available from Amazon for under $30,  is one of the smartest catalogues of 19th-century French history and art history a number of years. [Image: Auguste-Rosalie Bisson, The Ascent of Mont Blanc, 1861. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.]

How to listen: Download the show directly to your PC/mobile device. Listen on SoundCloud. Subscribe to The MAN Podcast at iTunesSoundCloudStitcher or via RSS. Stream the program at MANPodcast.com.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. The program is edited by Wilson Butterworth. The MAN Podcast is released under this Creative Commons license. Special thanks to Greg Allen, Trevor Schoonmaker and to the National Gallery of Art library for their assistance.

Click through to the jump to see more images of art discussed on this week’s program.

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