Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Max Kozloff, in his first contribution to artcritical, explores the ethics of prettiness in relation to Florine Stettheimer


What strikes the eye immediately is the rhythm of line and limb that jumps about, especially in ensembles with little narrative pretext. They’re frequently scattered across nebulous white grounds and are endowed with a gem-like aura that resembles the capitals in illuminated manuscripts. Yet, when they’re on the move, they might also recall the snap of a Fred and Ginger routine in Hollywood movies. Had he known them, Busby Berkeley, the dance choreographer, would have found them congenial—if a little loose. Stettheimer herself was beguiled by glamor, whose effects and trappings she applied to decorate private or public festivities. Fashion runways, cocktail parties, and picnics on the grass were evoked as appropriate environments for diarist memories, garnished with vines that twitch and outsized flowers that bloom.

From “Pretty, Ugly, Beautiful: Florine Stettheimer at the Jewish Museum” by Max Kozloff

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