On Frick Madison

Jeffrey Weiss at Artforum:

Yet the overarching impact of the Breuer installation is one of pictorial rather than historical logic. The relocation from one setting to the other has made the paintings close to unfamiliar. For those long used to visiting the Frick Collection, the change is transformational. Three paintings by Vermeer, for example, are displayed on three adjacent walls, an arrangement that is discreetly formal but otherwise without ceremony. The effect is heart-stopping. This sensation derives not from the utmost rarity of the works (only thirty-four paintings by the artist are known to exist), something of which the visitor may even be unaware, but from a naked intensity of pictorial encounter. In particular, the storied qualities of the painting Mistress and Maid, ca. 1666–67—optical precision, consummate painterly control, and the suspended animation of the two figures, who pass a letter between them, spotlit against the impenetrable darkness of an unknowable space—now project with startling immediacy. The installation supports a salience, a hereness, that intensifies the ritualized intimacy of the depiction of gesture and glance.

more here.