Much like the world, it turns out, these wonderful exhibitions have yet to expire. From the current issue of our fittingly—in both timing and content—Janus-like journal.
HENRY MATISSE: IN SEARCH OF TRUE PAINTING
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave., through March 17th
By gathering together pieces from a number of different institutions and collections, and by allowing for a great deal of wall space to be occupied by studies, unfinished works, repeated compositions and photographs of in-process paintings, the curators of this exhibition have created an investigatory, revelatory display of Matisse's oeuvre as you have most likely not seen it before. What you have here, in other words, is the artist questioning himself, challenging himself and reiterating himself, and thereby emboldening selectively those aspects of his painterly manners that seem, after so much scrutinizing, worthy of further refinement. A delightful show in many ways, and no matter your level of expertise on Matisse.
DÜRER TO DE KOONING: 100 MASTER DRAWINGS FROM MUNICH
The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave., through January 6th
This invariably stunning exhibition, whose broader temporal arc actually precedes Dürer and postdates de Kooning, is a culling of timeless masterworks older and newer—from Ghirlandaio, Michelangelo, Pontormo and Grünewald to Van Gogh, Caspar David Friedrich, Max Beckmann and Sigmar Polke—from the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich. Take your sweet time as you stroll through this one lest you miss the subtly perceptible embossing or typeface on the verso side of a fluid sketch by Rembrandt, or lest your pace become a half-step too quick to realize that a variably layered drawing by Francis Picabia is nothing short of oneiric plunges depicted. Sticky details of this sort are abundant in this exhibit. It's up for just a bit longer, so don't miss it.
TO BE A LADY: FORTY-FIVE WOMEN IN THE ARTS
1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery, 1285 Avenue of the Americas, through January 18th
Although the title of this immense exhibition curated by Norte Maar's Jason Andrew readily indicates a deep roster of female artists, it doesn't necessarily convey the broad extent of the show's historical arc. A number of the artists are featured in art history textbooks, in other words, while a few might yet freshly recall art history coursework. All genres and mediums are included in this truly standout exhibition, in which each niche in the poly-nooked gallery space is a meditative realm all its own. To Be A Lady has already been and yet continues to be one of the most memory-conjuring and memory-making exhibitions around town this season.
PIER PAOLO PASOLINI
MoMA PS1 and various other locations around the city, through January 5th
Italy has a long history of exporting polymaths of cultural products, and MoMA has now marshaled screening rooms, roundtables, exhibition spaces and catalogue pages to showcase the extensive and varied output of one of our very favorite such figures, Pier Paolo Pasolini. Since his films are likely the greatest source of his global repute, a full retrospective of remastered reels is a big part of the program, but so are meta-cinematic installations of Salò, Teorema and Medea, at PS1—complete with a display of publicity posters and other items of filmic marginalia—and an amassing of over 40 of the director's paintings and drawings, including a number of portraits of collaborators and peers, at Location 1. Check MoMA's website for more details. There's a lot to see, and it's all over the place in a most wonderful way. Did you know Pasolini was also a composer, for instance? That hat, too, is in the mix.
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