Barry Schwabsky is the art critic of The Nation. Schwabsky has been writing about art for the magazine since 2005, and his essays have appeared in many other publications, including Flash Art (Milan), Artforum, the London Review of Books and Art in America. His books include The Widening Circle: Consequences of Modernism in Contemporary Art, Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting and several volumes of poetry, the most recent being Book Left Open in the Rain (Black Square Editions/The Brooklyn Rail). Schwabsky has contributed to books and catalogs on artists such as Henri Matisse, Alighiero Boetti, Jessica Stockholder and Gillian Wearing, and has taught at the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, New York University, Goldsmiths College (University of London) and Yale University.
Must art confront ugly realities with an ugliness of its own?
With his cutouts, Henri Matisse tried to free himself from gravity.
How much of the pressure of reality can a work of art bear before it ceases to be art?
Jeff Koons and the art of blissful idiocy; Kara Walker’s art of subtlety.
Trevor Winkfield is a connoisseur of the original, spare and strange.
Why Italian Mannerists like Rosso Fiorentino were painting’s first avant-garde.
Did Chris Marker think history to be not only an infinite book but a sacred one?
A quartet of shows at MoMA decoct enlightenment from the banal.
Ed Clark and Lynda Benglis are still making art on a grand scale.
The Guggenheim’s Futurism exhibition and the Whitney Biennial offer competing visions of present-mindedness.