I’m smarting from an Oct. 21 article in The New York Times by Nicolai Ouroussoff called “Art and Commerce Canoodling in Central Park.” The piece reviews the most recent stop of the Chanel Pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid (of local reputation for designing the Contemporary Arts Center) in loose collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld. I won’t recount all my bruises from Ouroussoff’s varied grievances; you can read through them here.
I took in several art shows that I recommend, for various reasons, this past weekend.
At designsmithgallery (1342 Main St., Over-the-Rhine), a selection of gorgeous vintage platinum and oil-pigment prints from Doris Ulmann, the early-20th-century photographer who moved from more formal and traditionalist pictorialism toward a newer documentary style, are on display. These once belonged to the Folk singer and Folk-song collector John Jacob Niles, a friend of hers, and are from his estate. The show will be up through Nov. 22 and, while small, is well worth a visit. (www.designsmithgallery.com.)
On Saturday night, I attended the opening of the strange — and, in its way, quite fun — I Will Never Recover From This Macaroon by artist/CityBeat contributor Matt Morris at Semantics Gallery (1107 Harrison Ave., Brighton). The space inside and out is filled with installations and interventions — olfactory as well as visual — that connote the debris of a very conceptual house party where smart people put a lot of thought into how they break and discard things. It's up through Oct. 25 and is well worth a visit. And Morris' tissue drawings are extremely intriguing. At 7 p.m. this Saturday, there will be a reading of experimental texts.
Finally, while some of The Carnegie Galleries' The Bold, The Beautiful and The Bizarre show of work by five artists left me admiring the craftsmanship but not feeling anything about the inspiration, Brenda Tarbell's amazingly beautiful ceramics need to be seen. They seem as shimmeringly alive as underseas crustacians in their organic shapes and textures. It takes considerable willpower to resist handling them; they have the alluring power of a visit to the sea. The exhibition only runs until this Friday, so stop by at 1028 Scott Blvd. in Covington (www.the carnegie.com).
In the Fall 2008 posting of Forbesflash.com — the Web site of Forbes Magazine — Kip Forbes, vice chairman of the company and son of founder Malcolm Forbes, includes Cincinnati's Taft Museum among the list of his nine favorite U.S. art museums.
Kip Forbes, like his father an art aficionado, studied art history at Princeton and has written several books on the subject. He chose Taft because: "(It) is a jewel filled with Old Masters from Rembrandt to Whistler in a house built by the family of our 27th President."
Other museums on his list, none in Ohio, include San Francisco's de Young Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Pasadena's The Huntington, Atlanta's The High Museum, The Frick and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum of Oklahoma City.
— Steven Rosen