A round-up of the week’s reviews and interviews
Advocates of the contemporary works emphasise their playfulness and improvisation, with terms like ‘casualism’ and ‘provisional painting.’ But this has inevitably invited more caustic labels such as ‘slacker abstraction’ or ‘zombie formalism’…Latent in these tags, I think, is the criticism that painters like Rosa are borrowing the fashions of the past without demonstrating any of that daring and commitment which originally characterised them…But subversion is not Rosa’s aim.
[T]he first six drawings feature figures tumbling, spinning, rising or falling, or carried in the air; it is as if they are born aloft by Goya’s imagination. His masterful use of light and shade, his indefatigable line, gives these drawings a purposeful energy: comic as the images may be, they have moral intent. And they are raucous with the squawks of monkeys, the shrieks of women, the banging of tambourines and clattering of castanets. There is a kind of joy in his extraordinary facility, which brings these creatures to life, defying our disbelief.
Skoog is deliberately piling on a sense of uneasy melancholy: the footage, originally shot on 16mm film before being transferred to video, is grainy and the sound a lo-fi rumble of snatches from the original films. It all contributes to a sense that the landscape of the golden age of Hollywood is as out of work as much of the theatre network that screened its films.
Art Basel in Hong Kong (or ABHK) is the youngest of Art Basel’s progeny, but it is no less breezily confident for that…For Europeans, it was stimulating to experience a show curated from this quite different centre of gravity. The ‘Insights’ section of the fair devoted to special projects from ‘regional’ galleries reinforced the sense of a creatively vibrant greater Asia, stretching from Australia to Turkey.
The Rubenshuis tries to focus on lesser known aspects of Rubens’ work. What better subject to show at Rubens’ family home than his family portraits?
The discovery that seems most important is the originality of Poussin’s religious compositions: the artist had no scruples about mixing antique and Christian traditions in order to visualize, with poetry, the most fundamental questions: Fortune, Providence, human freedom…