Sanford Schwartz is the author of Christen Købke and ­William Nicholson. (December 2018)

IN THE REVIEW

The Secret Sculptor

Jack Whitten: Homage to the Kri-Kri, 25 x 8 x 13 inches, 1985

Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963–2017

an exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, April 22–July 29, 2018; and the Met Breuer, New York City, September 6–December 2, 2018
There is a somewhat mystifying, what-am-I-looking-at quality to Jack Whitten’s paintings, and this spirit hovers over the exhibition “Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963–2017,” now at the Met Breuer. Whitten, who died this past January at seventy-eight, was a highly respected member of the art world, though his renown was, I …

A Bosch for Us Now

Carroll Dunham: Any Day, 78 x 100 inches, 2017

Into Words: The Selected Writings of Carroll Dunham

edited and with a foreword by Paul Chan, and an introduction by Scott Rothkopf

Carroll Dunham: Wrestlers

catalog of an exhibition at Blum and Poe, Los Angeles, April 28–June 17, 2017, with an essay by Alexi Worth
It is an odd fact of publishing life that perhaps the most notable collections of art criticism to have appeared in recent times have been written by artists. In 2016 the painter David Salle brought out his criticism in How to See, and now Carroll Dunham, who is also a …

In Their Own Worlds

Outliers and American Vanguard Art

an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., January 28–May 13, 2018; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, June 24–September 30, 2018; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 18, 2018–March 18, 2019

Vestiges and Verse: Notes from the Newfangled Epic

an exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, January 21–May 27, 2018
In recent decades, a tale unfolding within the larger story of contemporary art has been our gradually learning more about, and our trying to place, outsider artists. Problems begin at once, with the label.

The Master of Eglfing-Haar

Eugen Gabritschevsky: 1893–1979

an exhibition at La Maison Rouge, Paris, July 8–September 18, 2016; Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne, November 11, 2016–February 19, 2017; and the American Folk Art Museum, New York City, March 13–August 13, 2017
Should Eugen Gabritschevsky be called an outsider artist? The question hovers over his pictures, adding yet another level of mystery to them. In a number of obvious senses, he was certainly the opposite of the figures we generally think of as outsiders. Their bodies of work, if one can generalize, tend to emphasize (in quite different styles) lines, patterns, and structures. Gabritschevsky’s scenes in comparison are practically amorphous. He was also very different from many outsiders as a person.

NYR DAILY

Quiet, Sensuous Piero

Piero della Francesca: Saint Jerome in the Wilderness, 20 1/8 x 15 inches, 1450

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Piero della Francesca: Personal Encounters,” is the first ever exhibition about Piero’s devotional works. They are small-size paintings created for bedrooms or set-apart areas in the home. In spirit they take us to much the same austere and bare-bones realm as his more public pictures. Yet they present more directly and pleasurably the qualities that make Piero such a special figure, even by the heady standards of the fifteenth century, when so many Italian and Flemish artists, were finding one personal way after another to portray the actual, corporeal world they lived in.

Anselm Kiefer, in Love with Loss

A still from Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow showing Anselm Kiefer's 'tottering, bunker-like' structures

Over the years, Kiefer’s work, continually summoning up Bible stories, wartime legends, and mystical awarenesses, has become woozily grandiloquent. He is an extraordinary showman, however. His pictures, where model ships or women’s frocks are often placed atop images of endless fields, the sea, or forests, can have a phenomenal physical presence. He is a master transformer of materials. From the first he made lead, steel, straw, glass, or crumbly clumps of cement with rebar sticking out bespeak fragility and delicacy.

Otto Dix, Our Contemporary

This summer, the Neue Galerie in New York is offering the first large-scale American exhibition of the gleefully provocative German painter Otto Dix (1891–1969)—providing a rare opportunity, as New York Review contributor Sanford Schwartz says, “to appreciate an artist who could almost be our contemporary.” Here are a selection of images from the show, together with comments taken from Schwartz’s piece on Dix, which will appear in the Review‘s August 19 issue. The exhibition closes August 30. (Images provided by Neue Galerie New York.)

Innocuous Items Gone Creepily Wrong: Taking the Pulse of Art in New York

New Yorkers currently have two large exhibitions with which to take the pulse of contemporary art, and neither shows the patient feeling altogether well. At the Whitney Biennial, this time around presenting many videos along with paintings, installations, and artists’ collaboratives performing music, the spirit is retiring, docile, and a little like spending an afternoon at some lackluster shows in Chelsea.

NYR CALENDAR