This week: Landscape painting, William Bailey, Bach at Saint Thomas & more from the world of culture.
Landscape Painting Now: From Pop Abstraction to New Romanticism, by Barry Schwabsky (edited by Todd Bradway) (D.A.P.): Amid the pluralistic chaos that defines most of the arts today, it may seem an exercise in futility to try and organize a book around a theme as seemingly traditional and stable as “landscape painting.” But that is exactly what Barry Schwabsky, the art critic for The Nation, does in a new volume that argues for the pictorial landscape’s prominence and complexity within an increasingly urban and digitized world. The list of eighty-two featured artists is extensive and varied, including luminaries such as Jane Freilicher, David Hockney, Peter Doig, Cecily Brown, and Wayne Thiebaud, as well as a number of painters who deserve greater recognition (I was especially pleased to find sections on Antonio López García, Israel Hershberg, Amy Bennett, and others). With more than four hundred color reproductions, the book is beautifully illustrated and a fitting testament to the artists contained within. —AS
“William Bailey,” at Betty Cuningham Gallery (through April 14): William Bailey paints the realism of idealism. Through supremely sensuous brushwork, the idealized forms of figure and still life are made real in bold italic. Bailey’s latest exhibition at Betty Cuningham Gallery matches his dreamy paintings with works on paper that give us some better sense of how these uncanny images are dreamed up. Beyond mere depiction, Bailey creates form by drawing on imagination and his own sense for shape and volume. —JP
“Bach: St. John Passion,” at Saint Thomas Church (April 11): The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys is celebrating the centenary year of the Saint Thomas Choir School, which trains the young members of an ensemble that is arguably the best of its kind in the country. Their performance Thursday will test that claim: the music director Daniel Hyde will lead the choir and New York Baroque Incorporated in J. S. Bach’s monumental St. John Passion (1724). Soloists will include Dann Coakwell, Sarah Brailey, Jay Carter, Mark Bleeke, and Andrew Padgett. And don’t miss the rest of Saint Thomas’s musical lineup in the weeks before Easter: Benjamin Sheen will perform Marcel Dupré’s Symphonie-Passion on the new and much-hyped Miller-Scott Organ on April 15, and Hyde will present a program of Lenten music the following evening. —HN
“Lunchtime Lecture: Eyes on the Skies,” at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden (April 12): The skies still mystify. So what must people have thought about the cosmos before twentieth- and twenty-first-century advances in telescopic technology? Find out this Friday at a lunchtime lecture at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, one of New York’s few remaining eighteenth-century buildings. —BR
From the archive: “The great Edmund Burke,” by Harvey Mansfield (November 1992). A review of The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography of Edmund Burke.
From the current issue:“An interview with Christian Wiman,” by David Yezzi.The New Criterion’s poetry editor interviews the poet, editor, and teacher.