I am the kind of man with a backbone who will (temporarily) bypass the Courtauld Collection of Imps and Post-Imps (but not beyond June 21) to stick my toe in a new pool: “The Age of Carreggio and the Carracci, Emilian Patining of the 16th and 17th Centuries.” Doubly tempting because I wanted to mock my own anti-Baroquery and savour a province taking off: The Age of C and C is definitely worth an ogle, even though the heaven-scanning laser eyes of many of the subjects make you fear you’ve stumbled onto an ophthalmologists’ symposium. It’s a way of painting, sort of foreplay for the El Greco we feel easier with. I wouldn’t want to have any of them on my walls (except possibly Bartolomeo Passerotti’s “Merry Company,” allegedly a satire on the evils of lust, but judging from the contented looks on a man fondling the largest erect nipple in the history of painting, a failed lesson). I mean the Counter-Reformation was heavy stuff.
Moving right along, I wanted to see what the new Lila Acheson Wallace Gallery felt like. My first treat was the Philadelphia painter John Moore whose spooky interior landscapes giving on to an urban exterior “Thursdays “ makes me want to see a lot more of his eerie stuff. He is sort of a city Wyeth. Some witty preparator has hung the canvas ironically next to a triptych of windows opening onto Central Park South. Psyching myself up for Klee at MOMA, I tarried as well over the splendid Berggruen Klee collection, which a Chicago collector started fifty years ago. And I came down from Gaudi, drooling over three pieces of his in their Modern Design hall, a small but tasty display. The iron gate is worth a trip to New York on its own.
From Art Matters, July 1987
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