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Jason Rosenfeld

Jason Rosenfeld Ph.D., is Distinguished Chair and Professor of Art History at Marymount Manhattan College. He was co-curator of the exhibitions John Everett Millais (Tate Britain, Van Gogh Museum), Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde (Tate Britain and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), and River Crossings (Olana and Cedar Grove, Hudson and Catskill, New York). He is a Senior Writer and Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail. 

In Conversation


LA-based artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby speaks with Jason Rosenfeld about Nigeria, her image transfer process, and specificity of references.

In Conversation

with Jason Rosenfeld

Walton Ford’s new exhibition of customarily grand watercolors at Gagosian Beverly Hills is titled Calafia, after the warrior queen in Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo’s Spanish novel Las sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián).

In Conversation

with Jason Rosenfeld

“I like my space to be very aggressive, I think, that I play a lot with something—just as you think something is a long way away, it comes right up in your face again.”

In Conversation

KAWS with Jason Rosenfeld

Jason Rosenfeld speak with KAWS about the artist’s exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

In Conversation

Louis Osmosis with Jason Rosenfeld

Louis Osmosis, born in Brooklyn in 1996, is a sculptor and multimedia artist. His first solo exhibition, “PLEASE IT IS MAKING THEM THANKS :)” opened at Kapp Kapp at 86 Walker Street, Tribeca, on April 30. I spoke to Mr. Osmosis twice in early April amidst his recent work in his 7th floor studio in Dumbo where he is working during a one-year residency at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, as the B, D, N, and Q trains rumbled along the Manhattan Bridge.

In Conversation

with Jason Rosenfeld

“It’s what makes me think about art history as a stacking and stacking, or unstacking, or digging and burying, but to me it’s always stacked until like two minutes ago, when whoever just finished a painting—the most contemporary piece, newest, modern piece of art is being finished right now”.

In Conversation

Avery Singer with Jason Rosenfeld

Jason Rosenfeld speaks with Avery Singer about her first solo show at Hauser & Wirth.

In Conversation

Kenny Scharf with Jason Rosenfeld

California-born artist Kenny Scharf, who made a name for himself in the 1980s East Village street art scene, is having his second solo show at TOTAH, on view through June 25, consisting of paintings and two works involving the bodies of TV sets. Titled WOODZ ’N THINGZ, the exhibition opened the day before Earth Day and many of the works, all dated 2022, respond to the dire health of the planet, a long-time concern of the artist. I sat down with him at the gallery during his first visit back to New York in three years.

In Conversation

Matthew Ritchie with Jason Rosenfeld

Matthew Ritchie’s show, A Garden in the Machine, is at James Cohan at 48 Walker Street through October 15. It includes two series of paintings made in the past year, a suite of ten related drawings, each titled Leaves, a large sculpture, and a film. The artist’s major career survey, A Garden in the Flood, curated by Mark Scala, will open at the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee, on November 11. It will also include a collaboration with the composer Hanna Benn and the Fisk Jubilee Singers, with direction from their recently deceased leader, Dr. Paul T. Kwami. This is Ritchie’s first solo show at the gallery.

In Conversation

JENNY SAVILLE with Jason Rosenfeld

Rail Editor-at-Large Jason Rosenfeld speaks with Jenny Saville about her latest exhibition and the dialogue in her work between realism and abstraction.

In Conversation

SANYA KANTAROVSKY with Jason Rosenfeld

"I feel that humor is ultimately the most important element, this more Bergsonian kind of humor, a kind of self-reflexive humor, a tap on the shoulder."

In Conversation

Neil Jenney with Jason Rosenfeld

Jason Rosenefeld sits down with Neil Jenney on the occasion of Jenney’s solo exhibition, AMERICAN REALISM TODAY, which features the series “Modern Africa,” and follows on Jenney’s path of artistic experimentation from his early installations and metal wall sculpture, brushy oils on panels that he calls “Bad Paintings” in 1969 and 1970, through to his work of the last five decades that he refers to as “Good Paintings.”

Jason Rosenfeld

Linda Nochlin was my dissertation advisor at the Institute of Fine Art, New York University. I had been working with her second husband, Richard Pommer, and edging towards specializing in architectural history, as he was such a brilliant scholar and teacher, and had been very supportive of my work—he once said I wrote like an angel.

The Keeper

New York’s most important exhibiting institution without its own permanent collection is at present featuring a remarkably stimulating show about the act of collection and preservation.

Valentin de Boulogne Beyond Caravaggio

Black first became stylish in western art in Rome in the beginning of the 17th century through the paintings of an artist from near Milan, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

Fast Forward: Painting From the 1980s

Drawn from the museum’s collection, this welcome forty-work reappraisal of a decade still warily regarded is not meant to be comprehensive, but well lays the groundwork for a fuller consideration.

Peder Balke: Painter of Northern Light

Norwegian painter Peder Balke (1804 – 1887) is unrepresented in the Metropolitan’s collection, but owned in depth by longtime supporters of the museum, The George Hearn Trust and Asbjørn Lunde, who have together lent thirteen of seventeen works by the artist in this one-room sparkler of a show.

Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment

Cross Pollination is the product of a partnership with the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, which has lent 16 prized images of hummingbirds by the quirky American salt marsh painter and naturalist Martin Johnson Heade for the occasion, along with other works.

J.M.W. Turner: Turner’s Modern World

This exhibition brings together over a hundred oils, drawing, watercolors, and sketchbooks in seven galleries that illuminate the artist’s complex perspectives on technology, empire, war, and the vagaries of the human condition. Turner did not shirk big themes, from either the past or the present—he was as at home with Hannibal as he was with Napoleon—although his deepest sympathies were reserved for the working class.

Quentin Curry: A Brand New Day

Fanciful and chromatic things are afoot in AB NY’s converted mechanics garage tucked behind the pristine boutiques and galleries of summery East Hampton. There are eight acrylic paintings, two small reliefs, and five free-standing sculptures representing the past two years of Sagaponack-based artist Quentin Curry’s production. The show forms a panoply of sun-washed surfside elements ranging from the artist’s trademark surfers to flitting birds and shimmering sunbursts, interspersed with vaguely visage-like abstractions that look like riffs on Carvel cakes.

Julie Curtiss: Somnambules

For her third show at Anton Kern, and first in the prime lower floors of its East 55th Street headquarters, Julie Curtiss has produced a great deal of work, and plumbed her pseudo-surrealist tendencies while following themes of sleeplessness or the persistence of invented memory, evocations of the internal and the gently malevolent. She has also expanded her sculptural practice and conceived of a fine suite of polychrome drawings. This ambitious and exemplary display forms a compelling dialogue with both the self and the body at large, the latter still suffering the aftershocks and privations of the international pandemic.

Alison Elizabeth Taylor

The Sum of It is Alison Elizabeth Taylor’s career survey of forty-one41 large combination works and one immersive installation. It fills five rooms, the central exhibition hall, and the entry rotunda of the Addison Gallery of American Art, which features an eponymously titled self-portrait (2017), showing Taylor photographing herself in the mirror above the vanity in a rainbow-tiled bathroom—an appropriate metaphor for her organized vision and preference for both slices of her own life and the American mundane vividly rendered.

Talia Levitt: Schmatta

Twelve acrylic on canvas paintings, all but one from 2023, form a kind of faux-embroidered, neo-Divisionist, post-Arts and Crafts Movement, labor-conscious practice. The show is titled Schmatta, Yiddish for old rags or ratty clothes, and hearing it, the classic rock segment of my mind recalls Mick Jagger singing “Shattered” from the Rolling Stones album Some Girls (1978).


Curated by Danny Moynihan, Beach presents sprawling displays in Nino Mier’s two New York spaces of 107 works by an astounding 88 different artists, young and old, alive and dead. Like the tide, it spreads everywhere: into windowfronts, viewing rooms, offices, behind staff desks, and up the tall walls of Crosby Street in Soho.

James Nares: Monuments

Nares gets New York, the most pedestrian-friendly metropolis in the world. He proves it with every aesthetic move he has ever made, no less than asking us to think about the stones beneath our feet.

Turner’s Whaling Pictures

In 2008, the Metropolitan’s survey of the British Romantic painter JMW Turner (1775 – 1851) revealed him, in his exceptional blend of literature, landscape, history, morality, politics, and technical experimentation, to be the great Western artist of the first half of the 19th century. And, like Titian, or Caravaggio, or Rembrandt, or Matisse, an artist for all time, continually relevant to the changing human condition, and with an oeuvre ripe for focused explorations of various aspects of his career.

Thomas Cole’s Journey:
Atlantic Crossings

The exhibition opens with smoke, soot, ash, and steam—the environs of gritty, urban, insalubrious, northern England. These were the byways of Thomas Cole’s Lancashire youth.

Tara Donovan: Intermediaries

Donovan’s latest show at Pace represents work made before the pandemic, but the six installations largely satisfy the present need for an art that engages bodies, reveals a sense of self and presence (both as viewer and assertive creator), and encourages a return to social engagement.

Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick

Hendricks’s calculatedly cool, compositionally and chromatically bold, and fiercely character-driven visions from the 1960s–80s make this the Frick’s most daring contemporary art intervention to date, and its most effective.

BLUE BLACK: Curated by Glenn Ligon

It is a fraught moment to be discussing race and politics in art. The developing story of the national reassessment of disgraceful Confederate monuments has productively unearthed, for the general public, the symbolic power of art and its propagandistic role in perpetuating systems of power and control.

Walter De Maria and The Lightning Field at Forty:
Art as Symbiosis

Land Art now helps us see the very best of the planet more resolutely: its innate drama and its benign disregard.

Gods and Mortals at Olympus: Ancient Dion, City of Zeus

Gods and Mortals at Olympus marks the welcome return, after a four-year hiatus, of the Onassis Cultural Center to Midtown’s museum scene. Happily, the exhibition continues the Onassis tradition of attractive and engaging historical shows that speak to the cultural and political present.

Torkwase Dyson: Studies for Bird and Lava

The rigor of Torkwase Dyson’s intellectual and pictorial practices was fully on display in Studies for Bird and Lava, a set of 11 works in Pace’s new, light-filled East Hampton space, but the compelling aesthetic appeal of her project was also evident.

Maggi Hambling: Real time

Maggi Hambling, age 76, has her first solo show in New York. This dumbfounding development for one of England’s most important artists can be chalked up to the usual reasons: a suspiciousness of, until recently, figurative art and especially portraiture; a bias against female artists; and a bias against British post-war artists not named Bacon, Freud, or Hockney.

Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables

The present exhibition has arrived amidst a contentious national mood, with a divisive President attempting to define not only what makes America great but who constitutes America.

Ridley Howard Travel Pictures

Athens, Georgia and Brooklyn-based painter Ridley Howard’s first show at Marinaro Gallery is consistently compelling and abundantly aware of the history of art—strengths of a painter in his mid-forties with his own fully developed style.

Ragnar Kjartansson Scenes from Western Culture/Architecture and Morality/World Light

The Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s fourth solo show at Luhring Augustine is a tripartite serving of oils, videos, and a four-screen film. Concurrent with his survey retrospective at the Hirschhorn Museum, the exhibitions show Kjartansson seeking to redefine the terms of a durational aesthetic engagement through his deeply mindful, perhaps too historically conscious, art, while displaying the multivalent nature of his somewhat uncharacterizable approach.

HOLLY COULIS: Table Studies

Still life is a time-worn but hardly vigorous genre at the moment, but Athens, Georgia-based painter Holly Coulis has been inventively tweaking its terms, and never more so than in these new playful and precise works.

The Thomas Cole House, Olana, and Lyndhurst

Sleepy no more, the historic houses of the Hudson Valley have been invigorated with annual temporary exhibitions that enhance understanding of their fabrics and owners, and reward repeat visits.


The powerful and monumental paintings in Vincent Desiderio’s ninth show with Marlborough Gallery since 1993 reveal his continued fascination with the history of figurative art and a mucky pleasure in pushing copious amounts of oil around a surface.

Charles LeDray: American Standard

American Standard is the product of a resolutely original mind and represents an expansive view of the nation in the moment—it is exacting in its technique and sharp in its cultural commentary.

Alexei Jawlensky

This enlightening, first major U.S. museum exhibition on the artist (and the accompanying, defining catalogue) will not catapult him into the first rank, but it compellingly covers his entire career, with a particularly deep focus on the rocky second half of his life. For Jawlensky, this was a period marked by: exile due to war; the indignity of the Nazis labeling him a degenerate artist, prohibiting him from exhibiting, and crushing his market (although he became a German citizen the next year); and a fatally debilitating arthritis.

Cecily Brown

It is a good moment for Cecily Brown. The Blenheim show is a critical smash—though tantalizingly inaccessible as Britain locks down again. The Brooklyn Museum just acquired via gift Triumph of the Vanities II (2018), one of two grand canvases that recently hung at the Metropolitan Opera. Her impact on younger artists is more and more evident on gallery walls. This exhibit shows her impressive restlessness, resolve, and energetic mind in equal measure.

The Frick Madison

The long-desired and long-overdue renovation and enhancement of the Frick museum and library campus has left the bulk of the collection in limbo, and it now sits in a holding pattern in the structure that was built for the Whitney Museum of American Art in the mid-1960s, and lately been host to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s contemporary collection and some memorable temporary exhibitions.

Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body

Equal parts astonishing, creepy, and daring, Like Life is that rarest of major exhibitions: almost entirely comprised of sculpture; visually intriguing at every turn; and brimming with interesting ideas.


Memorable Mad. Sq. Art projects have abounded, but none impact the environment and relate better to the formal qualities of the park than Martin Puryear’s monumental and terrific Big Bling (2016), which commands the now lush and verdant oval for the next three seasons, and is deeply resonant of life in today’s New York.


Alexander Calder (1898–1976) redefined and expanded an entire medium, while fulfilling the purported prime directive of mid-century modernism: abstraction.

Shannon Cartier Lucy: The Loo Table

Shannon Cartier Lucy’s nine oils occupy two rooms in Lubov’s fourth floor space, in its airy perch above Chinatown’s Kimlau Arch. The streetwise cacophony here gives way to domestic intimacy, of a quietly compelling kind.

Luca Pancrazzi: FLASH LIGHT

A committed experimentalist, the Valdarno-born Pancrazzi, who lives and works in nearby Florence, reveals the man behind the curtain in one key picture, Flash, of a camera on a tripod. Its flash is aglow at left—it seems to explode from the picture surface—causing delicate blue rippling rings to pulse out from its center. Source becomes subject, and it is the combination of lenses, flares and glancing reflections, suffusing incandescence, and manipulated perspective that coalesce in this stimulating body of work.

Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction

Francis Picabia (1879 – 1953), whose mother was French and whose father was a Cuban-born Spaniard, also described himself as being both Italian and American, and his art is no less polyvalent. MoMA’s monstrous, thought-provoking, and at times thrilling survey—with its formidable catalogue—demands focus, commitment, and an open mind; and provides everything you need to assess this unsung hero of an undefined modernism. Best known as an associate of Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery and a progenitor of New York proto-Dada around World War I, Picabia is newly revealed in this retrospective of 241 works, exploring the artist’s entire career through oils, drawings, printed publications, film, associations with music, theater, and dance, enamel paintings, photo-based work, spoken word compositions, and correspondence.

Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today

There was a time, not so long ago, when the study of Realism, Impressionism, and the roots of French Modernism was the edgiest of fields. Advanced scholarship and concomitant museum exhibitions teased out aspects of such Paris-based art that kept it dynamic: the quality of intellectual discernment was high; smart graduate dissertations flowed; the works connected with a popular audience; and picture prices went through the roof. But then complacency set in.


The relationship between “take” and “make” is essential to Zoe Leonard’s deeply personal, associative, nostalgic, and generous art.

Symbolism in Europe: Burne-Jones, Khnopff, Mucha, and Gauguin

At the very moment that the European Union appears on the verge of splintering, with Britain’s impending Brexit on March 29, four concurrent monographic and single venue exhibitions have celebrated artists central to fin-de-siècle Symbolism, the last truly unified movement in European art.

Jacques-Louis David & Charles Ray

It is probably better that the exhibition has little to say along these lines. But that does not mean David’s allegiances should be glossed over in favor of the David of formal invention and narrative fluidity.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Coming Back to See Through, Again

Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s first solo show with Zwirner opened in the gallery’s new space on Western Avenue in Los Angeles’s Melrose Hill in May. Everything sold, but in a rare and generous move, the gallery transferred the display in its entirety to West 19th Street, resulting in the artist’s long-anticipated first solo show in New York City.


There are nine oils and five graphite drawings in Catherine Murphy’s latest show. This includes everything the artist has made since 2013, the year of her last exhibition at the gallery. Everything. The meticulous Murphy, now in her early seventies, has honed her practice to the essentials, documenting the quotidian in her Poughkeepsie environs with more and more of a laser focus, and at an earned stately pace. Five of these works closed out her beautiful Skira Rizzoli monograph, published in 2016, but now they can all be seen together, hanging in generous spaces, and beautifully revealing the continued evolution of her inimitable practice, an exercise in concentration in two mediums.

The Hare with Amber Eyes

The Jewish Museum’s present show is a spinoff of The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance, the best-selling book from 2010 by the British ceramicist and writer Edmund de Waal, an elegant, erudite, auto-biographical, and equal parts devastating and elevating family memoir. Designed by Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and curated by Stephen Brown and Shira Backer in collaboration with the book’s author, the exhibition documents through 450 objects the rise, fall, and perseverance of the Odessan grain-merchants-turned-bankers Ephrussi family over a century and across three continents, and the odysseys of their prized possessions.


The thirteen rooms of the Met’s latest blockbuster seek to present a dialogue between Édouard Manet (1832–1883) and Edgar Degas (1834–1917), two of the essential lights of the late-nineteenth-century French avant-garde, who are revealed to be simultaneously inheritors of an Old Master figural tradition from Titian to Delacroix and progenitors of a novel post-Courbet urban realism. They duke it out in the form of some 160 oils, watercolors, drawings, pastels, and etchings.

Matvey Levenstein

Starting with iPhone photos, some dating back to 2009, Levenstein employs a conceptual process of selecting and expanding or shrinking images without the aid of a projector. It is a manual translation of the intimacy of the phone screen, first to drawings and then to oils.

Essex Street Quartet (2004)

Ernie Gehr’s series of four related films form part of “The City” section of The Long Run, MoMA’s thematic reinstallation of its fourth floor permanent collection to showcase work by artists from their later years.

Candice Breitz: Too Long, Didn’t Read

There are issues with the presentation, and over 35 hours of footage is daunting, but it is a worthy attempt to highlight the committed work of this important Berlin-based White South African artist, despite the regrettable loss of an impressive slate of public programs that the museum had scheduled around the social themes of these films: mainly the refugee crisis and the criminalization of sex work.


The artist has said that he has no interest in making animations, but creating new pictorial mythologies to complement his widely recognized cast of heroes is a new wrinkle, and a welcome one.


This is the case of Proscenium (2000), one of his largest and most successful works, which dances through the cavernous space of the Neuberger, its traced forms conjured as if from Tinkerbell’s wand.

Joe Houston: RUINS

Pure magic is what I thought when I first encountered Joe Houston’s paintings. This was in 2018, at P·P·O·W’s Armory Show booth. He exhibited VIEW (2018), a three-foot square, stark, Caspar David Friedrich-like depiction of a binocular coin-operated tower viewer standing like a Rückenfigur in front of a low stone wall and against a light green background, and HOLD (2017), an outstretched arm and hand gripping a chirping songbird against a blue sky.

Elizabeth Ibarra

Ibarra is a Mexican artist from Guadalajara, Jalisco, who lives in Los Angeles, and this is her first exhibition on the East Coast. Joel Mesler, whose gallery seeks to make connections between the Southern California and New York arts scenes, came across her works at the pop-up Newsstand Project in LA at the end of 2019.

Luisa Rabbia: From Mitosis to Rainbow

Brooklyn-based artist Luisa Rabbia is showing nine new paintings in her fourth solo show at Peter Blum Gallery. The Turin-born Rabbia has worked in multiple media, but this display concentrates on canvases covered by a combination of materials: colored pencil, pastel, acrylic, and oil.


The elegance of Saville’s facture, the swirling and energetic pace of her drawing, made her inheritor of a tradition of gestural, bravura painting going back to Titian, Rubens, and Velázquez, and as reworked by John Everett Millais and Édouard Manet

Andy Goldsworthy: Red Flags

The appearance of Red Flags in this annus horribilis in the capitalist heart of this country, that Grand Experiment looking brittle at 244 years old, forms a palimpsest of hope in our recovering city.

Lisa Yuskavage: New Paintings

Matisse, among other Old Masters, gets the full Yuskavage treatment in her show of 14 new paintings at Zwirner, displayed in two rooms.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art is giving the French Romantic Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) the full historical treatment accorded an old master: generously sized, darkened galleries; deep, jewel-tone walls; and over 150 spot lit works.

Olafur Eliasson: Your ocular relief

Olafur Eliasson’s show at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery represents a focusing of energy and a break from the pressure of producing vast displays, offering “ocular relief,” a kind of COVID-deflecting eye candy for our society under pressure.

Barry Windsor-Smith’s Monsters

Barry Windsor-Smith’s Monsters is his first attempt at a complete comics story since his Storyteller series for Dark Horse Comics abruptly ended its run in the ninth issue in 1997 and the publication of a reworked X-Men story titled Adastra in Africa in 1999.

Jason Lutes's Berlin

Picking up the first issue of Berlin in April 1996 was like coming upon something one had imagined but never expected to encounter: historical fiction in the form of a comic book bearing both literary aspirations and compelling, art historically savvy imagery.

A Tribute to Thomas Nozkowski

Tom was one of the first postwar artists to question the heritage, hubris, and clichéd bloat of Abstract Expressionism. His intelligence transformed art as a political act; the creation of exquisite canvases that would fit in humble homes and not necessarily be destined for corporations or institutions


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

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