Author Archives: Philip Kennicott

Artist Robert Irwin’s roots run deep in Southern California

The art market is an international phenomenon, as fluid and unbounded as the rampant flow of capital and resources across borders. And yet, some of the most engaging and provoking art is rooted in place, and there remain distinct geographical quirks of environment, and artists who may have international reputations, yet are distinctly identified with a microcosm of city or state or region.Read full article >>


Why is this architecture firm dealing with the NFL and Dan Snyder?

Bjarke Ingels, founder of the architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group, thinks he can change the NFL. After news leaked this month that his firm, known as BIG, has been tapped to design a new stadium for the Washington Redskins — Ingels not only defended his new client, he also waxed poetic about the power of sport to change society. And he sounded almost utopian in his confidence that smart design could push that evolution forward: “Nothing excites me more than to take active part in the evolution of that sport and its facilities to make football more exciting, more engaging, more inspiring and more safe in the future.”Read full article >>


Posted in NFL

Met exhibit shatters 19th-century myths about ancient Egypt

For centuries, ancient Egypt seemed a marvel of unchanging continuity to professional and amateur scholars alike, a society defined by tradition and cultural stasis. As late as 1975, an architecture critic wrote of its tombs and temples what was generally believed of the culture as a whole: “In the architecture of the Nile, although the hand never fails, the stimulus of intellectual curiosity, the tension that springs from avid enquiry, is often absent.”Read full article >>


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In a MOMA retrospective, Picasso’s sculpture is still full of surprises

In 1932, the Hungarian photographer Brassai photographed Picasso’s studio for an extensive article in a high-end art magazine. One image featured the artist’s sculpture arranged in the doorway of a former stable on the grounds of his chateau, Boisgeloup, north of Paris. The doors are flung open, but they reveal little of the interior. A few forms are seen just inside the arched portal, behind which is inky darkness.Read full article >>


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An artist who never wavered from his vision

When an artist lives as long as Ellsworth Kelly, who died Sunday at age 92, it can be difficult to recapture what made that person’s work bracing when it was new. And when an artist is as successful as Kelly was, when his work becomes canonical and essential to any synoptic survey of art history, it is difficult to see it independently of its fame, reputation and ubiquity. Read full article >>


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National Gallery of Art offers rare chance to see ancient Greek bronzes

The ancient Athenians considered most everyone else barbarians, and that snobbery has trickled down to us through the eons. When we think of Greek civilization, we think of the Golden Age of Athens in the 5th century B.C., of Aeschylus and Sophocles, and statesmen such as Pericles, whose funeral oration would sound almost traitorous to many Americans today: “We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing, although the eyes of an enemy may occasionally profit by our liberality. . . . ”Read full article >>


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Smithsonian should set standard on public signs, not fight oversight

Here’s the only thing that matters in the debate over whether or not the Smithsonian needs approval for its new signs, including an ugly, temporary addition that now defaces the facade of the recently renovated Renwick Gallery: The Smithsonian should set the gold standard for compliance with all design and preservation oversight groups in the District.Read full article >>


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Exhibit review: In Virginia, a Rodin show changes how we see the sculptor

RICHMOND — Most people who make even occasional visits to an art museum probably feel they know Auguste Rodin fairly well, for his work is everywhere. Even modest regional museums may have a bronze cast of one of the iconic statues, and new casts are still being made, and sold, by the Musée Rodin in Paris. Indeed, the museum funded the renovation of one of its buildings, the Hotel Biron, Rodin’s Paris studio, through the sale of new original bronze casts.Read full article >>


Posted in Uncategorized

Exhibit review: In Virginia, a Rodin show changes how we see the sculptor

RICHMOND — Most people who make even occasional visits to an art museum probably feel they know Auguste Rodin fairly well, for his work is everywhere. Even modest regional museums may have a bronze cast of one of the iconic statues, and new casts are still being made, and sold, by the Musée Rodin in Paris. Indeed, the museum funded the renovation of one of its buildings, the Hotel Biron, Rodin’s Paris studio, through the sale of new original bronze casts.Read full article >>


Posted in Uncategorized