The Easel

15th May 2018

The Vulnerable Ferocity of Chaim Soutine

When it comes to Soutine the real attention grabber is his use of paint. One critic described it as trying to “turn the substance of the world into thick, squidgy, excited paint”. Thoroughly modern, but not easily categorised, Soutine is widely influential among artists but lacks public recognition. Hold the art theory suggests the writer, “only look”. More images are here

“Heavenly Bodies” Brings the Fabric of Faith to the Met

Catholicism, says an archbishop, is as much about beauty as goodness. This rationale has inspired an immense show tracing the influence of church regalia on contemporary fashion. The show is careful, respectful – “these designers are sometimes rule breakers [but] not apostates”. The current Pope’s aversion to ostentation goes unremarked. A video (5 min) is here.

8th May 2018

Julian Schnabel: Wave Warriors in the Court of Honor

These past few decades Julian Schnabel has been largely ignored. “Sometimes the personality can get in the way” admits his gallerist. Now, suddenly, some attention. Schnabel puts it down to being “a nonconformist … maybe you come in and out of view.” Or perhaps, says the curator, it is due to his art: “It’s not a renaissance. It’s a sign of power and … impact of the work.”

Gallery Chronicle

Short and scathing. The writer attacks from the first sentence – “Jasper Johns is the minor artist with the major reputation”. His complaint seems to be that Johns hasn’t had any good ideas lately. “One day, there may be a reckoning of a legacy that has derived only diminishing returns from initial mid-century investments.”

‘Modern Times: American Art, 1910-1950,’ at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Art tastes in early twentieth century America were sedate. So the 1913 Armory show, which included experimental European modernists, shocked. Its impact on American artists, the subject of a new show, was “new modes of thinking, and new forms of expression”. No one new style predominated, but rather “the beautiful chaos of innovation”. More images are here.