James Ensor at MoMA

Funny peculiar. If you are a devoted reader of ID tags in museums, you may have spotted one or two attached to James Ensor's exquisitely repellent works. He's an eccentric choice for a big bow-wow retrospective. Even more so when you consider that several of New York's regular critics seem to prefer the current Ensor show at MoMA to the powerful Francis Bacon show uptown at the Met. Was this really credible? I wandered in mostly to satisfy my curiosity, and curious turned out to be the operative word. Despite his British-sounding name, Ensor lived his entire life in Belgium, mostly secluded in an upstairs apartment above his parents' old curiosity shop, which sold trinkets to tourists but also carnival masks of the kind that their hermetic son would use to morbid effect in his art.
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