Having caught his all-inclusive 2002 show at the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris and reflected that, as with many artists (more recently, Wilfredo Lam and Le Courbusier, both revealed in over-abundance at the Pompidou Center), the oeuvre of Francis Picabia isn’t necessarily well-served by being shown in its entirety (the later works often resemble garish studies based on magazine photographs… as many were), I wasn’t particularly excited about Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction, the monographic Picabia show running through March 19 at the Museum of Modern Art. That was before I saw the above, created in that seminal year of 1911, just one of the 200 works including 125 paintings featured — and definitely not included in the Paris exhibition. Francis Picabia (1879-1953), “Adam et Ève” (Adam and Eve). 1911. Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 × 31 7/8″ (100 × 81 cm). Private collection. © 2016 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. — Paul Ben-Itzak
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011, 2017 Paul Ben-Itzak
NEW YORK — Only a true art fanatic with a death wish would walk 50 blocks downtown from his digs on the Upper West Side to the Chelsea Art Valley on a polar night in Manhattan, when the towering buildings on the seemingly interminable blocks between 10th and 11th Avenue make the art voyager feel particularly naked in the Naked City. So there I was — oui, moi — with a scribbled list of a dozen galleries hosting openings Thursday night, in search of high middle-brow art ‘arrosed’ by red, red, wine. What I found was middle-concept middling art watered down by tepid white wine (doesn’t stain like red), with only one artist worth remarking among the 12, this defeated art voyager treading wearily home in his Fort Worth Mexican flea market tan cowboy boots, only to be saved by Joel McCrea riding out of the high country with Randolph Scott riding herd.
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One of the 39 paintings on view through February 20 at the Metropolitan Museum for its exhibition Max Beckmann in New York: Max Beckmann. German, Leipzig 1884–1950 New York, “Carnival Mask, Green, Violet and Pink (Columbine),” 1950. Oil on canvas, 53 3/8 × 39 9/16 inches(135.5 × 100.5 cm). Framed: 61 3/8 × 47 3/4 × 1 3/4 inches (155.9 × 121.3 × 4.4 cm). Saint Louis Art Museum, Bequest of Morton D. May. SL.9.2016.24.2. Image courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art. To access the full version of the article, including more images, subscribers please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Not a subscriber? 1-year subscriptions are just $39.99, or $19.99 for students and unemployed or under-employed artists. Just designate your PayPal payment in that amount to email@example.com , or write us at that address for information on how to pay by check or in Euros or British pounds.