Book Review

LIES, LIARS AND UNDERGRADUATES: The Most Interesting Article You Will Ever Read

Scott Winfield Sublett My dear, darling Pendery Weekes recently stepped down as Managing Editor of The New Art Examiner. She wanted more time for her unusual habit of swimming year-round in the freezing ocean off Cornwall, wearing only a bathing suit and a smile. My new boss, Pendery said, would be Daniel Nanavati, the European Editor. Naturally, I called Daniel …

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That Special K.

Christian Hain There are many ways to write a biography, and different reasons for reading one. At the beginning of his comprehensive work on Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), Rüdiger Görner, German professor at London University, touches upon the difficulties in painting any ‘true’ portrait in written form, or for that matter a ‘painted’ one. Kokoschka himself admitted that his …

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Edward Carey: The Swallowed Man

Lynda Green The Swallowed Man is a short novel, easily read in a sitting, and if you are happy to suspend reality and appreciate beautiful writing, then you’ll enjoy it. Sprinkled with charming illustrations by the author, it is the reminiscences of Geppetto, the creator/father of Pinnochio, while he is in the belly of a gigantic fish. Edward Carey mixes …

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BOOK REVIEW – Ludwig Bemelmans

Frances Oliver The Covid lockdown has sent me back to old favourite books, and I have just revisited two by Ludwig Bemelmans, one from my parents’ art book collection, My Life in Art, and a battered autobiography, Life Class, from mine. Ludwig Bemelmans (1898–1962), born Austro-Hungarian, later American, was a writer and painter renowned chiefly for his children’s books. The …

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Reviewing the Reviewer

A Review of Peter Schjeldahl Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light, 100 Art Writings 1988-2018 by Victoria Howard in Cornwall Jarrett Earnest has compiled 100 of the art writings of Peter Schjeldahl, the art critic on The New Yorker. I imagine Earnest and Schjeldahl chose together which pieces would go in the final version. Earnest’s other contribution adds little to the book. …

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Tragédie Française

by Frances Oliver I wrote recently about a just republished book from my parents’ art book collection, Saul Steinberg’s Labyrinth. Another of their books I treasure, a very different book that some might find almost unbearable to look at, is Frans Masereel’s Danse Macabre, the drawings that are his own 20th-century version of the plague-inspired medieval Dance of Death. I …

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Saul Steinberg’s The Labyrinth

Among my parents’ art books was a big book of drawings I loved as a child and now have and love still: Saul Steinberg’s The Labyrinth. It has just been republished by the New York Review of Books. Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) was from a Romanian Jewish family. He studied architecture in Milan and in 1958 fled Fascism to land eventually …

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Elkins on Art Criticism

How do we judge art and what is the role of the art critic? This article compares James Elkins’ (2003) views on art criticism, with those of others and my own. I am an amateur collector and a psychologist. James Elkins (2003) claims that art criticism is produced and ignored in equal measure. It is not rooted in any academic …

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The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul

Gary Weiss, ‘Ayn Rand Nation’  Gary Weiss was inspired to write his book when he realised, after the crash, after the orgy of deregulation and greed that led to the crash, there was a ‘missing piece to the puzzle.’ ‘The philosophy of greed had a philosopher’ and that philosopher was Ayn Rand. Like many others, Weiss had dismissed Ayn Rand …

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Ayn Rand, A Defence for the Indefensible

Left behind by the previous owners of my parents’ Vermont summer home was a number of books. They weren’t my parents’ kind of reading, nor mine, but one fat book intrigued me (I was thirteen, the age when in pre-Laddt-Chatterly-trial days you looked for the rare sec bits in adult fiction.) I found some and in the end I read …

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Camille Paglia’s Glittering Images

At a first glance Glittering Images, starting from Egyptian art, going on through the centuries with major focus on twentieth century art and George Lucas’ Star War’s appears to be a useful introduction and overview to art history for first year university students. The book is printed on high quality art paper in an elegant and readable typeface. It would …

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Cézanne and the End of Art

Ordinarily one does not finish a book because it is good. Usually, one tires with the monotony of its language and casts it mightily aside. This is not the case with Donald Kuspit’s The End of Art. I am taking a break from it because it is too good, it scares me. The book is brilliant and intense and to …

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Keeping an Eye Open – Book Review

“How far does an artist’s individuality develop as a result of pursuing and refining the strengths of his or her talent, and how much from avoiding the weaknesses?” Julian Barnes has written many articles about artists he admires or from whom he has received deep visual experiences. In this volume these previously published essays are brought together in historical sequence …

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Before Pictures

Douglas Crimp is an important figure in the development of postmodern art theory. He influenced a group of such 1970s artists as Robert Longo, Philip Smith and Cindy Sherman, whom he dubbed the “Pictures Generation.” Crimp made his mark curating a small show in 1977, titled “Pictures” at New York’s Artists Space gallery that has gained iconic status as a …

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