Slowstagram: The Met Reminds Us That Photography Has Always Been a Bag of Tricks

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Unknown, [Man on Rooftop with Eleven Men in Formation on His Shoulders], ca. 1930

It’s easy to think of the ability to alter a photographic image as an achievement of the digital age, but “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop,” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, proves that recent innovations are only the tip of the iceberg. Tracing the history of doctored images through photography’s century-and-a-half-long history—and using several hundred examples to make her point—the show’s curator, Mia Fineman, argues that photographs and trickery have always gone together. Read More


Origin Stories: ‘Materializing ‘‘Six Years”: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art’ and Mickalene Thomas at the Brooklyn Museum; Rosemarie Trockel and Judith Bernstein at the New Museum

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Mickalene Thomas, Din Une Tres Belle Negresse 2, 2012

A century and a half ago, Gustave Courbet painted a close-up, spread-eagled view of a woman’s genitals and called it The Origin of the World. It is one sign of the extent to which women artists have taken ownership of such male-created images that no fewer than three major New York museum exhibitions of works by mid- and late-career women artists feature variations on Courbet’s erotic classic. In the past year, both this newspaper and The Economist have reported on the lingering inequities between women’s work and men’s on the art market. That may still be true, but, at least in New York, museums are doing their part—and that may eventually set things straight. Read More


From Brush and Palette to Printer and Cartridge: ‘Picasso Black and White’ at the Guggenheim, ‘Wade Guyton OS’ at the Whitney

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Pablo Picasso, Head of a Woman (Dora), 1941 (cast 1958)

IN ADDITION to being the most celebrated artist of the 20th century, Picasso is also the most difficult to pin down. So it is not surprising that an austere exhibition of his paintings, sculptures and drawings, ostensibly all in black and white, actually yields smudges of color: jade, olive, lemon-meringue yellow, midnight blue. Less surprising is the fact that the pieces on view—some 118 paintings, sculptures and works on paper, including 38 being shown for the first time in the United States and five displayed for the first time in public—are full of his signature muscular shapes. The show’s curator, Carmen Giménez, brought Richard Serra to the Guggenheim Bilbao in 1999, and her taste for the sculptural is evident in this exhibition. Read More


Andy’s Kids: The Met Takes a Scattershot Stab at Establishing Warhol’s Influence, but at Artists Space, the Bernadette Corporation Is the True Heir to His Myth-Making

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Installation view of 'Bernadette Corporation: 2000 Wasted Years' at Artists Space

If you listen carefully, you can hear the howling from curatorial and critical circles about the Metropolitan Museum’s blockbuster, “Regarding Warhol.” Organized by Mark Rosenthal with Marla Prather, Ian Alteveer and Rebecca Lowery, the exhibition is a Trojan horse: under the guise of examining the influential Pop artist, the Met has crept through the gates of contemporary art curation. The haphazard display, which looks cobbled together from auction-house catalogues (rather than from art history books), functions less as a thoughtful exhibition than as a three-dimensional press release for the traditionally more historically focused museum’s plans to expand into new art. It’s a land-grab, a wild claim to exciting territory. Its raison d’être is more institutional positioning than visual persuasion. It is bold, impolitic—and interesting. Read More