Editor’s Note

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Further Thoughts on Collecting

Some unsolicited advice from a rank amateur I recently read online an excerpt from The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market, the latest book from economist and art market commentator Don Thompson, which will be available in...

The Biennial Brouhaha

Protests at the Whitney raise questions about race, politics, and bad painting In case you missed it, the big art-world kerfuffle of the week, possibly of the season, happened following the launch of the 2017 Whitney Biennial last week when several artists took...

How NOT To Collect

A few cautionary tales In the years between acquiring a master’s degree in art history—and burning out on the prospect of becoming an art historian—I did a number of reasonably adult things. I got married. I held down a series of editorial jobs with magazines that...

The Limits of Protest Art

What can it really do? While driving home from Albuquerque on Thursday, terrified and disgusted by the news on the radio, I popped in a CD from an audiobook that had been languishing in my back seat for weeks. Picasso’s War, by Oliver Wyman, tells the story of the...

Confessions of a Cranky Critic

Yes, I have been living under a rock. And I'm proud of it. When I read, a few days ago, that Helen Marten had been named the 2016 winner of the Turner Prize, Britain’s biggest accolade in contemporary art, I drew a big fat blank. “Helen who?” was my response. And...

On the Importance of Being Nice

A few parables for our times About five years ago, soon after I moved to Taos, NM, from New York, I went on a press trip to Los Angeles to check out some of the art in “Pacific Standard Time,” an extravaganza celebrating L.A. as a creative force for the past five or...

A Few Words About Words

Occasionally a reader of Vasari21 has written or said to me, “I really enjoy your blog!” And I have been known to snap back, “It’s not a blog. It’s more like a magazine. I don’t know what to call it. Maybe I should call it a webazine.” I don’t mean to be so prickly...

On Confronting the New, the Strange, and the Downright Baffling

It’s become pretty much a cliché to say that there is no such thing as an avant-garde anymore because the term “avant-garde” of necessity implies a notion of beyond the pale, difficult to comprehend, and perhaps provoking a sense of outrage. No sooner does an…

Blather and Bloat

I have been sleeping with a number of critics lately. Stacked on my bedside table, littered on the bed itself, are books by Roger Shattuck, Arthur Danto, Leo Steinberg, Robert Hughes, and Dave Hickey.

First Love and Irresistible Impulses

My first boyfriend, in college, always smelled of Ivory soap. It was a clean, innocent scent, like baby powder or shampoo, and therefore perhaps appropriate for young love. For years after we broke up, whenever I smelled Ivory soap…

The Lives of the Artists

Carol Rose Brown is a small, sharp, wren-like woman with piercing dark eyes and a surprisingly deep and resonant voice that retains traces of her native New York. She’s had more than her share of lumps in life—losing her beloved first husband in a terrible accident…

The States of Art

As many of you are aware from postings on Facebook and elsewhere, I spent nearly two weeks in New York over the holidays, visiting the studios of as many Vasari21 members as I could fit into a crammed schedule. Most will be the subjects of forthcoming…

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