Editor’s letter, March/April 2015

Editorial Staff Opinion

The divide between “pure” art (painting and sculpture mostly) and functional art (lighting, ceramics, furniture, and so much else) comes and goes in history depending on who has the power to enforce its shaky distinctions. Just now the contemporary art market tilts toward the healthy side of the issue: a table by Urs Fischer, for instance, is a work of …

Editor’s letter, January/February 2015

Nicole Anderson Opinion

  When he was designing the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth the great American architect Louis Kahn said that he wanted it to resemble “a friendly home.” That might surprise anyone familiar with Kahn’s museums—the Kimbell, the Yale Center for British Art, or the Yale University Art Gallery—but I think he was simply saying that he wanted his building to …

Editor’s letter, November/December 2014

Nicole Anderson Opinion

In the nineteenth century there was an oft-repeated tale about the young Thomas Coleentering New York from the far reaches of rural Pennsylvania and being met with hosannasfrom the city’s artists. Like most oft-told tales this one turned fact toward myth (to beginwith, Cole had arrived from nowhere more obscure than Philadelphia), and yet it suggests somethingintriguing and durable about …

Editor’s letter, September/October 2014

Nicole Anderson Opinion

On our cover, the cacophonous world in which we live–digital and artisanal, ephemeral and timeless–is rendered, ironically, in the disciplined quiet of limewood by the master carver (and prose master) David Esterly. Carving, Esterly has observed in his book The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making, is a metaphor for many things. I’d count among them the …

Editor’s letter, July/August 2014

Nicole Anderson 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

Nicole Anderson 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

Nicole Anderson 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 …