Instead of adoring function from an aesthetic distance, Matt Paweski confronts it where it lives. These sculptures play with the self-insistence that function has always had in modern design.
Book Review: “The Artist in the Counterculture” — California Dreamin’
If historian Thomas Crow’s goal is to explain how these rebels of the counterculture reshaped American art, he is at least partly successful.
Book Review: “Leon Battista Alberti: The Chameleon’s Eye” — Not Your Classic Renaissance Man
This splendid biography of Leon Battista Alberti, beautifully produced, with a rich selection of well-placed and well-reproduced illustrations, vividly portrays one of the most complex and fascinating figures in a complex and fascinating time, one whose preoccupations are entirely relevant today.
Book Review: “Isabella Stewart Gardner: A Life” — Less Intriguing But Even More Mysterious
As befits an official biography, Silver and Greenwald approach their subject with decorum and respect: they neither hide nor emphasize potentially controversial elements, carefully outlining the sources of money in Isabella’s family and the old Boston Brahmin fortune of her devoted husband.
Book Reviews: Art Museums — Anything But Neutral
It’s tempting to frame these books as opposing sides in an argument, Old School Establishment vs. Progressive Left. They are more like parallel universes; their opinions and even their terms rarely converge.
Book Review: “The Grand Affair: John Singer Sargent in His World” — Forever Out of Reach
Paul Fisher’s back-and-forth tease about John Singer Sargent’s sexuality starts out as intriguing, then becomes distracting, and finally irritating as the biographer never quite closes in on his targets.
Visual Arts Review: “Fired Up: Glass Today” — Remarkable Beauty
The dignified design and subtle lighting of the Wadsworth installation manages to keep the diversity, frenetic variety, and colorist’s dream of this exhibition from being overwhelming.
Book Review: “As It Turns Out” — Not Enough About Edie and Andy
Alice Sedgwick Wohl has a disturbing tendency throughout the book to back away from her points even as she makes them, as if afraid she will find herself trapped in some politically incorrect cul de sac or just a bad neighborhood.
Visual Arts Review: “Milton Avery” — The Slow But Steady Growth of an American Master
Perhaps unintentionally, the show is a moral fable on the nature of true achievement: Milton Avery’s steady progress on his own path stands out in this age of online influences and the rabid pursuit of instant fame and material success.
Visual Arts Book Review: “Florine Stettheimer: A Biography” — One of American Art’s Greatest Enigmas
The volume’s overarching goal is to restore Florine Stettheimer to what the biographer sees as her rightful reputation as one of the great American artists of the 20th century.