Review

Consider these names: Fellini, Antonioni, Olmi, De Sica, Rossellini, Pasolini, Visconti, Scorsese, Coppola – the most compelling film artists of modern times, in this country and in Italy, not to mention the rest of the West. And yet the image world out of which they grew, the photographic milieu that nurtured all of them, that connected the diaspora Italians in New York (and Buenos Aires, among other places) with the home country, has never been explored in depth in the United States. Until now.

Why photographers, who were in the vanguard of these efforts, are so unknown outside Italy (and even within it) is one of the mysteries that curator Enrica Viganó and the essayists in the catalog have sought to answer and to redress. The illuminating exhibition will be a crash course in post-war Italian cultural history for most Americans, introducing them to dozens of unfamiliar names.

In this day and age, it can be costly to take a gorgeous view of Earth’s natural environs for granted. It could be gone tomorrow; replaced by a building, a new exurb development, or another earth-shattering search for natural resources. However, while eco-activist-innovators are researching and planning the future of cities and urban development, New York University’s Grey Art Gallery has mounted a curious exhibition, Landscapes after Ruskin: Redefining the Sublime.

What is the sublime in nature? The exhibition Landscapes after Ruskin:  Redefining the Sublime, at New York University's Grey Art Gallery, addresses this question. With some 60 artworks by over 45 artists, the artist-curator Joel Sternfeld makes the case that contemporary landscapes' sense of the sublime is quite different from that of the nineteenth-century.

Article in Portuguese. Uma original exposição na Grey Art Gallery de Nova Iorque dá conta da evolução do sublime no nosso tempo. [An original exhibition at the Grey Art Gallery in New York gives an account of the evolution of the sublime in our time]

Landscapes After Ruskin: Redefining the Sublime presents in its introductory text an intriguing proposition: “In a world overwhelmed by rapid technological advances, natural disasters, and a heightened sense of anxiety, it is still possible to find unexpected beauty.” Curated by New York photographer Joel Sternfeld and drawing on works from the Hall Art Foundation in Vermont, the exhibition at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery takes as its starting point the concept of the sublime in nature popular in the 19th century.

When 19th-century painters such as JMW Turner wanted to grapple with the sublime — which they did with obsessive regularity — they turned to nature’s terrors. Art offered Alpine storms, raging whitecaps, floods and earthquakes, all of which viewers could observe in the comfort of the gallery. Just as horror films stoke fear and also provide solace (that can’t happen to me!), the artistic sublime provoked a frisson of vicarious suffering.

Dark Beauty and Global Hipsters: The Art of Chen Wei

July 31, 2012 by Nora Boyd The fact that I sometimes wear black has been interpreted by friends back home in California as evidence that I have become a hipster, but I can’t say that I’ve ever felt like a hip New Yorker. I often envied the visitors to the gallery where I worked in […]