We enjoyed this little video called “The Sweet Spot,” published by The New York Times today, in which culture columnist David Carr skewers film critic A.O. Scott for being a harsh critic and takes a brief respite by talking to Roberta Smith about the power of criticism to make or break careers.
The reviews have been streaming in steadily since the opening of the Barnes Foundation, the collection of early modernist masterworks of Dr. Albert C. Barnes, on Saturday at its more centrally located site along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The building, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, at a cost of $150 million, replicates the galleries of the original structure while expanding its footprint to add new amenities like a central court, a café, a gift shop and an auditorium—a total of 93,000 square feet, compared to the original in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia, which was only 10,000 square feet. The critics are all over the place on the new building. Here’s a cheat sheet of where some of them stand.
Two bits of news about The New York Times’ co-chief art critics, Robert Smith and Holland Cotter, just came across our desk.
“I’m speechless,” said Ryan Estep, a visitor at the opening of “The Illusion of Democracy,” Charles Atlas’s show at Luhring Augustine Friday night. Mr. Estep was standing in front of Plato’s Alley, a 2008 video work by Mr. Atlas, comprised of a black and white projection of a grid of rapidly flashing numbers. The video was cast across several walls of a nook in the gallery the size of a small bedroom. An artist and art handler who works at a Chelsea gallery and lives in Bushwick, Mr. Estep was one of the first visitors to the show. He seemed mesmerized. “Things are coming toward me and receding. I’m blown away.”
Damien Hirst’s 11-gallery spot-painting exhibitions is probably impossible for just about single working critic to review.
Even the most frugal writer making the worldwide Gagosian tour—crashing on couches, taking trains throughout Europe, etc.—would need to spend at least a few thousand dollars on airplane tickets to cross the Atlantic, the Pacific, the U.S. and the gigantic gap between the Gagosian outposts in Athens and Hong Kong. Though critic Adrian Searle floats the rumor that one journalist is making the trip, it is hard to believe any publication—or even major media company—would be willing to back the sojourn.
Painter Helen Frankenthaler died yesterday at the age of 83, and The New York Times published an obituary by Grace Glueck, which featured an anecdote about a time that Ms. Frankenthaler danced with John Travolta at the White House. It’s well worth a read. This morning, we take a look at the tributes, complete with a few jabs, in other publications.
Week in Art Criticism
“My sister started visiting Morocco a couple of years ago,” Elizabeth Bernhardt told Gallerist on the phone this morning. “She loved the carpets there, and bought one hundred on that first visit.”
The sister to whom Ms. Bernhardt’s referred is the Brooklyn painter Katherine Bernhardt, who is perhaps best known for her vigorous portraits of supermodels, all rail thin and sharply angled.
As we move into the second half of October, much of the art crowd is off in London for Frieze. Next week, a good portion of it will move to Paris for FIAC, returning to New York as temperatures begin to drop and dealers ready their second shows of the season. Nevertheless, critics have been busy on these shores. In The New York Observer this week, Will Heinrich reviewed Algus Greenson’s just-closed “Invitation to the Voyage” and declared that it “could easily pass for a small museum show.” Below we offer a quick look at what critics are saying elsewhere.