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New York feels empty now

  It’s 1995. I’m with my brother in Soho; I live five minutes away on Stanton St; he’s visiting from California. We’re walking past Broome Street warehouses washed by winter sun, that cold yellow light on white painted brick. We visit one gallery after another. George says it feels like post-apocalyptic times. Money’s gone, the markets crashed, art world’s dead …

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A brief history of permanence

Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen, the two sculptors currently on show in Milan, share the the desire – together with the ability – to capture ideals in marble, to make beauty permanent. When I left the gallery I found myself spontaneously comparing this search for infinity with various forms of contemporary art – its transience, preoccupation with the finite, and …

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Pandemic Programming: Have You Had Enough of Virtual Exhibitions?

As with every aspect of life today, Covid-19 has drastically altered how the art world does business. Back in March, when federal and state governments forced art institutions to shut their doors to the public, it was surprising how quickly museums and galleries embraced the wholesale move to digitization. While internet-based creative production is nothing new to contemporary art, the …

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In Search of a Visual Reward

Writing about art is an art in itself. I join in with the cliché, ‘I don’t know much about art but I know what I like.’ For years I assumed that it’s in the seeing that believing comes. Now I feel it’s become the other way round, as in religion where believing affects the seeing, perhaps. The media critics are …

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We all suffer from psychoanalysis

The Exchange’s part of this show had a recording of Grace Pailthorpe explaining in detail one of Mednikoff’s paintings, using Freudian and Kleinian ideas about everything relating to his experience as a baby, his earliest supposed feelings about his mother, his faeces etc. She speaks with a remarkable certainty about the meaning of each element of the picture – I …

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Grace Hartigan: Reluctant Feminist

Critical reappraisals of women artists continue unabated, as they legitimately challenge historical omissions and, in some cases, neglect. In this environment the American University Museum in Washington DC mounted, in fall 2019, an exhibit of so-called ‘second generation’ Abstract Expressionist artists, Grace Hartigan and Helene Herzbrun. (This review concerns Hartigan only.) It would be hard to argue that Hartigan has …

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Fish for Art

Haarlem, a small medieval Dutch city with more than seven and half centuries of history, can be found between Amsterdam and the sandy beaches of the North Sea. For most of its existence, Haarlem, like many similar municipalities scattered throughout the Netherlands, was a trading post for goods and services in its province. Haarlem was known for its textiles, spun …

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Raphael in Milan

Five hundred years ago on Good Friday, 6 April 1520, Raffaello Sanzio, known as Raphael, died in Rome, leaving the world in sorrow. This year Italy celebrates this great painter and architect, master of beauty and perfection. Raphael, son of the court painter Giovanni Santi, was born and trained in Urbino, a small, picturesque town in central Italy. Italy then …

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Words lead to art in Lake Lugano

I was walking along Lake Lugano when two words on a sign caught my attention: Venice and Mušič. One reminds me of a magical city, the other intrigues me. I enter the doorway underneath these words and find myself in the rooms of a Foundation where a number of small paintings are on display: some portray stunning views of Venice, …

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Brueghal the Elder: the family man

This exhibition is fortunate in its location: the 19th-century italianate Palacio de Gaviria, which is at heart of the old Austrias neighbourhood in Madrid – the most historic part of the city, close to the famous Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor squares. I’m mentioning these surroundings because I think in the visual experience of art they are as important …

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