Editor’s letter, July/August 2014

Editorial Staff Opinion

Here is a curious turn of events: British folk art, although obviously many centuries old, is just this summer receiv­ing its first ever museum exhibition. Robert Young, who with his wife Josyane has carried aloft the standard of European folk art in their handsome London gallery for several years now, discusses Tate Britain’s exhibition in this issue with his customary …

Editor’s letter, May/June 2014

Editorial Staff Opinion

Here is the conventional wisdom about our world: contemporary art, in the ascendant for decades now, is on an ahistorical rampage, wielding its industrial strength newness and sowing disdain for beauty, mastery of technique, and anything that smacks of pastness. While this may be true of a segment of the art market and its press, art­ists are quite another matter. …

Editor’s letter, March/April 2014

Editorial Staff Opinion

The photographs by Charles Marville in this issue and on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art strike me as an important early chapter in the story of our modern lives. Marville’s job was to photograph Paris before and after Baron Haussmann erased its centuries old densely wound streets, replac­ing them with the broad new avenues and alluring vistas that …

Editor’s letter, January/February 2014

Editorial Staff Opinion

Is it too soon to propose a quota on installations of contempo­rary art in period settings? Yes, I know, everything is mashable these days, but not all these border crossings of present into past deserve a visa. I recently went in search of a silver box in one of the period rooms of a major museum (it wasn’t there). What …

Editor’s Letter, September/October 2013

Editorial Staff Opinion

Like most editors I am interested in everything, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. I have, in fact, far too many of them, so I like it when some of my prejudices get rearranged, as they were early last spring when Eleanor Gustafson and I visited the Philadelphia home of John Whitenight and Frederick LaValley featured here. Ten …

Editor’s letter, May/June 2013

Editorial Staff Opinion

Our cover shows an early and uncharacteristically jaunty paint­ing by George Ault, part of the Lunder Collection featured in the article about the Colby College Museum of Art. Elsewhere in the issue an example of Ault’s later, more hard-boiled style can be seen in Marica and Jan Vilcek’s collection of  early American modern­ism. Ault was by most accounts an impossible …

Editor’s letter, March/April 2013

Editorial Staff Opinion

A few weeks ago the Connecticut congressman Joe Courtney registered dismay at one of the more significant departures from historical fact inSteven Spielberg’s Oscar-bound Lincoln. To dramatize the narrow margin by which the Thirteenth Amendment passed, the film’s screenwriter Tony Kushner shows two members of the Connecticut delegation voting against the abolition of slavery. As it happened, all four voted …

Editor’s letter, January/February 2013

Editorial Staff Opinion

In the 1950s Robert Moses, New York’s bully-boy developer (a familiar type in these parts), had a suggestion for citizens who objected when he razed their neighborhoods: “Go to the Rockies,” he told them, implying that city life is bulldozers, cranes, and scaffolding and to resist them is to resist being urban and modern. Moses notwithstanding, modern life in New …