Jules de Balincourt, Untitled, 2023, Oil and oil stick on panel, Courtesy of the artist. On view in “Jules de Balincourt: Midnight Movers” at Pace Gallery, New York.


Sam Gilliam, Lilly, 2022, Oil on canvas, Pace Gallery, New York. © Sam Gilliam / Artists Rights Society.

“Sam Gilliam: The Last Five Years” & “Jules de Balincourt: Midnight Movers,” at Pace Gallery, New York (through October 28): With six outposts over three continents, the sun never sets on Pace Gallery. The gallery’s multilevel headquarters, spread across West Twenty-fifth Street, gives some sense of the size and scope of the operation. This is especially true when smart concurrent exhibitions fill the gallery spaces. “Sam Gilliam: The Last Five Years” presents a survey of the remarkably productive final years of this artist who died in 2022, with abstract paintings embedded with aggregate and imbued with meaning. Down the block and upstairs, Jules de Balincourt arrives at the gallery for his first solo exhibition in the city in a decade, with colorful and dreamy figuration that speaks to much time on the road. —JP


Larry Groff, My French Defense, 2023, Oil on linen mounted on panel, Prince Street Gallery, New York.

“Larry Groff: Flipped,” at Prince Street Gallery, New York (October 3 through October 28): “Form and substance are one and the same,” said the Danish artist Asger Jorn. Such harmony is more easily dreamt about than created. But in Larry Groff’s new suite of paintings, featured in “Larry Groff: Flipped” at Prince Street Gallery, playful perspectival experimentation is merged with equally playful subject matter. These are humorous, almost mischievous works, but they are also emotionally layered so as to invite intimate study. Similarly, their form makes them immediately accessible—the pastel-colored oils on linen are mouthwatering—while concealing just how complex the underlying construction and layering really is. This show is thus very fun and very serious. LL


Riccardo Muti. Photo: Todd Rosenberg.

Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, New York (October 5): Is that a bit of “Funiculì, funiculà” in the finale of Strauss’s first tone poem, Aus Italien (1886)? Indeed it is, and the green composer, mistaking it on his Grand Tour of Italy for a Neapolitan folk song, was even taken to court for pilfering it. His loss (of royalties) is our gain this Thursday night, as Riccardo Muti, the great Italian maestro and outgoing director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will present Aus Italien with the CSO together with two other postcards from Muti’s homeland: the New York premiere of Philip Glass’s The Triumph of the Octagon, inspired by Italy’s Castel del Monte, and Mendelssohn’s breezy Symphony No. 4, “Italian.” This swansong at Carnegie Hall should prove to be a historic date. —IS


Late-Georgian Churches: Anglican Architecture, Patronage and Churchgoing, 1790–1840, by Christopher Webster (John Hudson Publishing): The Georgian era in Britain began with a flurry of church-building activity under the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches of 1711. Nicholas Hawksmoor’s inventively massed Christ Church, Spitalfields, and St Mary Woolnoth are but two of the glories of that moment of ecclesiastical architecture. But, as Christopher Webster tells in Late-Georgian Churches, the years between that efflorescence and the end of the eighteenth century were pretty lean for church-building. Webster’s lavishly illustrated book demonstrates how “around 1790 . . . after decades of only limited church building, there was a stunning outburst of imaginative design almost without parallel anywhere in Europe.” Readers of this scholarly book will hardly doubt that claim. —BR


Henry Matisse with Le Serf in his studio, 1903. Photo: Museum of Modern Art, New York.

“Looking Again: Matisse’s Serf,” featuring Garth Evans, Eric Gibson, William Tucker & Karen Wilkin, at the New York Studio School (October 4): The armless form of Matisse’s sculpture Le Serf has been compared to the grand Walking Man of Rodin, which the elder sculptor fashioned by affixing a Greco-Roman torso to legs he had modeled for St. John the Baptist some decades before. The likeness is more than superficial; there is even reason to believe that the models for St. John and the Serf were one and the same, the famous Bevilacqua. But the Walking Man seems poised to stride off his pedestal, a headless dynamo, while the Serf is going nowhere fast, straining to lift his gaze. The head and remnants of the shoulders suggest that, unlike Rodin, Matisse was not aiming to simplify or streamline the human form; it is tempting to conclude that this painter’s interest in removing the Serf’s arms was, in a word, pictorial. Or was the removal more the consequence of an “accident,” as his daughter Marguerite later recalled—a clever bit of sculptural damage-control? Readers of The New Criterion can look forward to an essay-length treatment of just this question by the British sculptor William Tucker, to be published in this December’s special art issue. But for those who can’t wait, there is this Wednesday’s “Looking Again: Matisse’s Serf” at the New York Studio School, where Tucker will make his case alongside Garth Evans and a pair of New Criterion regulars, Karen Wilkin and Eric Gibson. The event will also be live-streamed. —RE

In the Press:

“Conservatism—and the Nation—at a Crossroads”
Peter Berkowitz, RealClearPolitics


“Bigger than Picasso,” by David Platzer. On “Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso: The Invention of Language,” at Musée du Luxembourg, Paris.

From the Archives:

“Not worth the powder,” by Donald Lyons (February 1995). A review of Witches & Jesuits: Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” by Garry Wills.

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