Michelle Hartney posted the guerilla wall labels next to the artwork of Paul Gaugin and Pablo Picasso, calling out their abusive or misogynistic histories.
A petition calling on the Met to remove a painting by Balthus from its walls for its troublingly sexualized depiction of a young girl has gained over 8,000 signatures.
Recently, I strolled through Balthus’s “The Street” (1933) at a retrospective of his work in Rome’s Scuderie del Quirinale. Each time I see that remarkable, disturbing painting, I follow the drama of a different dreamer.
LOS ANGELES — In 1988 Jed Perl, a critic in his mid-thirties who had written for Vogue, Art in America, and The New Criterion, published his first book: Paris Without End: On French Art Since World War I.
In response to a public outcry, the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany, has canceled an exhibition of Polaroid photographs taken by the French-Polish artist Balthus, The Art Newspaper reported.
When we talk about Balthus what we talk about are perversities: a grown man painting erotically charged portraits of Lolita-like young girls with their skirts flapped up like flowers.
Balthus: The Last Studies at Gagosian Gallery offers a kind of endnote to Balthus: Cats and Girls — Paintings and Provocations, the exhibition a couple of blocks away at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a denouement that disentwines the cultured from the creepiness in Balthus’ work, leaving only the latter intact.
You’d never find Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollock relegated to the corridors of the Museum of Modern Art. Rarely do artists deemed essential to MoMA’s historical narrative rub elbows with the throngs swarming the escalators and passageways in endless transit from galleries to café to restroom and back.
Between World War I and II, there was a strong gust of classicism that swept through the Western European avant-garde. Artists from across the continent embraced the language of the ancients as a way to reflect their own time and culture. This taste for antique forms can be interpreted in many different ways, including as an attempt to seek order in a tumultuous time, a way to cloak a modern ideology with powerful symbols, or a reaction to the radicalism of the previous decades. Regardless of the root cause or causes, the style that was at once familiar and dignified was a rich source of inspiration for artists, designers, and architects of all types.
This odd chapter in modern art is the subject of the Guggenheim Museum’s current exhibition Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936, which is a very attractive exhibition that gathers together a remarkable array of objects associated with almost every -ism from the era. The power of classicism is partly due to its malleability and how it was able to lend its voice to any and every modern movement that sought refuge in its silhouettes, drapery, linear logic, and airs of history.