Jed Perl’s Calder: The Conquest of Time, the first volume of his biography of the American sculptor, has just been published.
 (October 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

The Art of Pleasure

Pierre-August Renoir: Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880–1881

Renoir and Friends: Luncheon of the Boating Party

an exhibition at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., October 7, 2017–January 7, 2018

Renoir: An Intimate Biography

by Barbara Ehrlich White
Opinion remains unsettled about Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who died nearly a hundred years ago, in 1919. There are museumgoers who recoil from what they regard as the saccharine sweetness of his portraits and nudes, which earned him a place among the most universally beloved artists of the twentieth century. Some suspect …

A Visionary of the Real

Donald Judd at an exhibition of his work at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1970

Donald Judd Writings

edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray
The writings of Donald Judd are triumphantly matter-of-fact. The sculptor, who died in 1994 at the age of sixty-five, was decisive even about his second thoughts and doubts. “Cocksure certainty and squirming uncertainty are both wrong,” he once wrote. “It’s possible to think and act without being simple and fanatic …

A Modernist Return to Reality

André Derain, Deux Femmes nues et nature morte, 1935

Derain, Balthus, Giacometti: Une amitié artistique [Derain, Balthus, Giacometti: An Artistic Friendship]

an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, June 2–October 29, 2017
Some of the darkest, most beautifully saturnine dimensions of the modern imagination are explored in an extraordinary exhibition mounted in Paris this summer. “Derain, Balthus, Giacometti: Une amitié artistique,” at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, plunges visitors into the melancholy of modernism, but a melancholy …

The Confidence Man of American Art

Robert Rauschenberg: Persimmon, 1964; from Rauschenberg’s series of oil and silkscreen-ink print paintings in which, Jed Perl writes, ‘photographs of President Kennedy, crowded city streets, space travel, and a nude by Rubens come together to suggest a modernized version of the emotional fireworks we know from Baroque altarpieces.’

Robert Rauschenberg

an exhibition at Tate Modern, London, December 1, 2016–April 2, 2017; the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, May 21, 2017–September 17, 2017; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, November 4, 2017–March 25, 2018
Robert Rauschenberg was a showman, a trickster, a shaman, and a charmer. In the retrospective that recently closed at Tate Modern in London and will be arriving at the Museum of Modern Art in New York this May, museumgoers are confronted with many different things: the imprint of an automobile tire; a couple of rocks tied with pieces of rope or string; paintings that are all white, all black, or all red; a sheet and pillow spattered with paint; a drawing by Willem de Kooning that Rauschenberg erased; deconstructed corrugated cardboard boxes; bright silken banners; a blinking light; a taxidermied Angora goat; mixed-media works mounted on wheels so as to be easily moved around; and paintings packed with photographic images. Rauschenberg’s career is the fool’s errand of twentieth-century American art.

Cool, Sublime, Idealistic Diebenkorn

Richard Diebenkorn: Window, 92 x 80 inches, 1967

Matisse/Diebenkorn

an exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, October 23, 2016–January 29, 2017; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, March 11–May 29, 2017

Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné

edited by Jane Livingston and Andrea Liguori
Universal acceptance, however desired, has its problems. The critics and historians, as they heap on the praise and outdo one another in feats of analytical subtlety, can smooth out the quirks and complexities that give an artist’s work its stand-alone power. Richard Diebenkorn was beginning to receive this kind of …

‘Panthers After the Kill’

Jean-Antoine Watteau: The Portal of Valenciennes, circa 1710–1711

Watteau’s Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France

an exhibition at the Frick Collection, New York City, July 12–October 2, 2016
There are painters who aim for a direct, blunt-force power. They marshal colors, shapes, figures, signs, and symbols to convey the strongest possible experiences and emotions. Caravaggio was that kind of painter. So was Rogier van der Weyden, at least when he painted a Crucifixion. In the work of these …

NYR DAILY

Midnight Movies of the Mind

“The photographer Duane Michals is a law unto himself,” writes Jed Perl in the Review’s February 19, 2015 issue. “In a career spanning more than half a century he has worked in both utilitarian black-and-white and luxuriant color, produced slapstick self-portraits, evoked erotic daydreams, pamphleteered against art world fashions, and painted whimsical abstract designs on vintage photographs. You would be in for a disappointment if you expected a sober summing up in “Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals,” the big retrospective of the eighty-two-year-old artist’s career that is currently at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. Michals remains aggressively idiosyncratic, the curator of his own overstuffed, beguiling, disorderly imagination.” Here we present a series of Michals’s photo-sequences, with commentary drawn from Perl’s piece.

NYR CALENDAR