Wizards and masterpieces

By GREG COOK  |  November 6, 2009

The works from before and after the ’60s tend to be more notable for the artists’ names — Picasso, Braque, Cézanne, Walker Evans, Nan Goldin, Matthew Barney, Dana Schutz — than for the quality of the art. But here too are major works, like Max Beckmann’s claustrophobic 1922 Frankfurt am Main landscape and Florine Stettheimer’s 1920 dream of ladies lounging in the snow. Agnes Martin’s 1997 meditative stripy abstraction, Richard Prince’s 2000 knockoff of a Marlboro Man advertisement, and Gregory Crewdson’s alluringly creepy 1991 photo of a woman floating in a flooded living room are among these artists’ best pieces.

The exhibit was curated by Roy Dawes, director of Rose operations, and Adelina Jedrzejczak, a Rose curatorial fellow from 2007 to 2008 who was coaxed back to help here. They do a fine job, though in place of most of the chosen photos I’d have included the Rose’s Fred Tomaselli, Nam June Paik, Barry McGee, Neil Welliver, Bruce Conner, and Fairfield Porter works, its rare early Philip Guston, and an excellent, gnarly 1944 painting of a corpse by Boston Expressionist Hyman Bloom, who died in August — all of which you can see in a new Abrams catalogue of the collection. These are minor curatorial quibbles, but given the threats to the collection, you can’t help being suspicious about any absences.

Read Greg Cook’s blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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