Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'm Back!!!

By Charles Kessler

I just came back from two weeks touring Spain, Tangiers and Portugal. It was great (need I say it?). But whew, I'm exhausted! I'm not complaining, mind you -- we loved every minute, but I'm exhausted. And coming home to an art scene as insanely full and hectic as New York's isn't helping.

Let me begin by telling you what I'm NOT going to write about: The Prado. It's beyond anything I can say -- period. The monumental paintings by Velasquez, Rubens and Titian and the boys are so grand, powerful, and resolved that they're beyond words, at least my words. Maybe some day I'll take a crack at writing about Goya's "Black Paintings" (especially his heart-wrenching Drowning Dog) -- the only body of work at the Prado that's unconventional enough and unresolved enough to allow me some room for discussion -- but that's it.
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de, Dog half-submerged, 1821-1823, 131 cm x 79 cm (Museo Nacional Del Prado).
Later I'll write a bit about the Museo Reina SofĂ­a, Madrid's enormous modern art museum, but for now I want to report on some interesting articles and art news I've read in the last month or so.

British street artist Banksy has been in the news a lot. He directed a TV special called "The Antics Roadshow" for Britain's Channel Four on infamous pranksters. It was shown on Vimeo for a short time, but it's gone. Watch for a possible return. Perhaps more interesting is his (faked?) feud with "arch rival" King Robbo. The best reporting I found on this is on ArtInfo's website, here. Like Banksy's movie, "Exit Through the Gift Shop", one doesn't know what is real.

Calvin Tomkins, who has written about artists for The New Yorker for more than fifty years, was honored at the Whitney's annual gala, and he deservedly earned his own profile in the New York Times.

Speaking of profiles, the classy, veteran gallery dealer Paula Cooper has a great one in the Observer.

Even Larry Gagosian can't make a go of a bookstore
The Guardian's Jonathan Jones has written at least two perceptive and provocative posts while I was away: Was postmodernism born with Close Encounters of the Third Kind? and We need critics to define truly great art. How does he do it?

I'm only up to the J's -- more later! 

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