Recent links of note:

“Philippe de Montebello on How the Metropolitan Museum of Art Can Reclaim Its Glory”
Philippe de Montebello and Andrew Goldstein, artnet News

Much ink has been spilled on this year’s shakeup at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which involved the February ousting of the maligned former Director Thomas Campbell and the appointment of Daniel Weiss as president and CEO. Only recently, however, has Campbell’s predecessor (and incumbent Edmund Burke Award winner), the illustrious Philippe de Montebello, begun to weigh in more publicly on the Met’s recent past and its future potential. In an interview with the artnet News editor-in-chief Andrew Goldstein, de Montebello shares his thoughts on how the new, to-be-appointed Director can best balance his efforts, on a museum’s central mission of “restoring the primacy of art,” and on his own recent appointment as a director of Acquavella Galleries on seventy-ninth Street.

“David Reed on Caravaggio: Whirlpool — The Martyrdom of St. Ursula”
David Reed, Painters on Painting

As its name suggests, the blog Painters on Painting serves as an outlet for well-respected contemporary painters to wax analytical on a single painting that has proven personally intriguing or inspirational. Artists on the blog typically respond to historical works, demonstrating the enduring influence that art in the Western tradition still has on the more serious circles within today’s art world. This week, for instance, the abstract painter David Reed chronicles his recent encounter with Caravaggio’s final work, The Martyrdom of St. Ursula (1610). First pointing out Caravaggio’s ability to render incredibly minute (and rather grisly) detail, Reed then discusses the baroque painter’s interest in self-portraiture and subtle, inchoate form which enables dramatic and psychologically potent composition. For another take on Caravaggio, take a look at Benjamin Riley’s December exhibition note on “Beyond Caravaggio” at the National Gallery in London.

“‘Dana Schutz’ Review: Controversy and Complexity”
Peter Plagens, The Wall Street Journal

Ironically (and perhaps unsurprisingly), the ultimate consequence of this year’s “protest” of Dana Schutz’s Open Casket painting at the Whitney Biennial was to propel Schutz even more prominently into public focus than her career might have otherwise taken her (for background on the Biennial and the controversy, read James Panero’s piece in our May issue). Unsurprisingly, too, these harbingers of social justice, it seems, have not yet realized that by continuing to advocate for the destruction of Schutz’s work and career, they continue to enlist more legions to the painter’s cause. Notwithstanding controversy and identity politics, of course, the essential fact of the paintings and their formal accomplishment remain, as Peter Plagens, reviewing Schutz’s exhibition at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art in The Wall Street Journal, demonstrates. Plagens focuses on the successes and failures of Schutz’s work, pointing out adroitly where color soars and where content falls flat. As such, Plagens offers a refreshingly nuanced take on Schutz as a painter­, which, after all, is how we will view the artist once the current swell of controversy inevitably subsides.

From our pages:

“‘Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave’ at the British Museum”
Christie Davies

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