COLUMNS

  • Mannerism by Arnold Hauser

    Arnold Hauser, Mannerism (Knopf, New York), 1965. Two volumes.

    Naturalness—what poverty of spirit.

    Clarity—what thoughtlessness.

    The author of these lines is not Oscar Wilde or Huysmans but Gongora, one of the extreme exponents of the taste for artificiality in the period to which Arnold Hauser’s new book is devoted. Its title is nothing less than “Mannerism: the Crisis of the Renaissance and the Origin of Modern Art.” It is a matter of record that for Mr. Hauser art is an expression of ideology and that his approach to it is sociological. In “The Social History of Art” he applied these views to

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  • The Widening Stream. Poems by Richard Mack, photographs by Wynn Bullock.

    The Widening Stream, poems by Richard Mack, photographs by Wynn Bullock (Peregrin Publications, Monterey, California), 1965. 2000 copies printed.

    Because Wynn Bullock has worked in the same geographical region and often in the same forms, his work has too often been eclipsed by the work of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Both Adams and Weston are more prolific photographers, and Bullock’s carefully considered seeing can in no way compete with Adams’ flamboyant grandeur or Weston’s flamboyant sensuality. Bullock’s work has been seen occasionally in group shows in the Bay Area—perhaps he is best

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  • Aaron Siskind

    Aaron Siskind, edited and introduction by Nathan Lyons, with essays by Henry Holmes Smith and Thomas B. Hess (Eastman House), 1965. 74 pages, 44 photographs.

    AARON SISKIND, ALONE OF THOSE major artists whose germinal works constituted the ground for the central esthetic dialogue of the postwar age, chose to work solely in the photographic medium. The complete relevance of his accomplishments in photography to those in the other art disciplines have caused him to occupy that unique position which has been vacant since the death of Stieglitz.

    His historical credentials for this position are of course

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  • Michael Fried’s 3 American Painters

    Michael Fried, 3 American Painters (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University), 1965. 80 pages. Illustrated.

    THE ORIGINAL SELECTIONS for the exhibition of works by Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski and Frank Stella for which this is the catalog, were made by Michael Fried for the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard. When the exhibition opened at Pasadena, however, only the works by Olitski were the same as those shown at Harvard (presumably because there were no Olitskis on the West Coast); for the rest, works by Noland and Stella from local galleries and collections replaced the original selections. The strangeness

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  • Michael Kirby’s Happenings: An Illustrated Anthology

    Michael Kirby, Happenings: An Illustrated Anthology (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc.),1965.

    SOME PORTION OF THE HAPPENINGS, which flourished as a vital movement in New York between 1959 and 1962, has been preserved in a documentary book by Michael Kirby. The major part of the book is devoted to statements, scripts and descriptions of the productions by the five artists represented: Jim Dine, Red Grooms, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg and Robert Whitman. Altogether, thirteen Happenings are described in detail and amply illustrated with photographs. Kirby wrote all the descriptions after what

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  • Meditations on a Hobby Horse

    Meditations On A Hobby Horse by E. H. Gombrich, Phaidon, London 1963: E. H. Gombrich is a remarkable art historian who has increasingly concerned himself with the reciprocal relationships between art and perception. Or more precisely, he is interested in what happens when we look at pictures and how our eyes and minds are set to work by objects which are mental and sensuous amalgams in their own right. This has led him, in his famous “Art and Illusion,” to discuss such matters as the theory of representation, the psychological conditions of sight, and the nature of visual communication. One of

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  • Francis Bacon, The Golden Age of Spanish Sculpture, 100 European Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Soutine

    John Rothenstein and Ronald Alley, Francis Bacon (New York: Viking), 1964.

    IT HAS OFTEN been noted that writers never seem to live up to their pre-Nobel Prize performances, and that the Academy Award is usually the kiss of death to an actor’s career. One can only hope that Francis Bacon can survive this strange tribute of a catalogue raisonné of what one hopes will only be a frac­tion of his output. The book surveys and documents Bacon’s entire career, from his early abstract works (we have come to that) to the summer of 1963. An excellent selection of color plates is backed up by over 250 black

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  • James T. Soby’s, James Elliott’s, and Monroe Wheeler’s Bonnard and His Environment

    James T. Soby, James Elliott, Monroe Wheeler, Bonnard and His Environment (New York: Museum of Modern Art, Doubleday & Co), 1964, 116 pages, illustrated.

    THIS BOOK IS OFFERED as a “supplement” to the awesomely competent monograph published by the same institution 13 years ago by John Reward, and still in print. Except for the 41 color plates (in almost every case one wishes color plates had been made for the paintings in the Rewald show instead) and the additional bibliography (which refers the reader to the Rewald book for the first 200 citations) it is difficult to see what supplemental services

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  • Peter Selz’s Max Beckmann

    Peter Selz, Max Beckmann (New York: Museum of Modern Art), 1964. 160 pages, illustrated.

    No painter, it seems, has dated as quickly as has Max Beckmann. The bluntness of his execution, the unabashed literary quality of his art, the profuse and enigmatic symbolism were the very qualities which younger generations of artists were finding least congenial. Dr. Peter Selz could not care less about who contemporary fashion does or does not cotton to, and has prepared his volume with the massive thoroughness we have come to expect of him, although often enough even he must retreat from one of Beckmann’s

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  • The Diaries of Paul Klee (1898–1918)

    The Diaries of Paul Klee (1898–1918) (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press), 1964. 424 pages, illustrated.

    Almost all the great artists wrote well, but few indeed wrote as well as Paul Klee. It is a joy to have these diaries available. The deepening crisis in the arts in the most recent decades has forced almost all artists into an anti-intellectual position. The cultivated image of the artist that emerges from these pages is one that our times will probably not see again.

    Philip Leider

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  • Gordon Onslow-Ford’s Painting in the Instant

    Gordon Onslow-Ford, Painting in the Instant (New York: Abrams), 1964.

    RESIDENTS OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA have for years been afflicted by the ubiquitous, insidious drivel of California Zen. The otherwise almost faultless programming of listener-subscription station KPFA looses, with maddening frequency, the unctuous voice of Alan Watts to drench the entire Bay Area in tides of Zen molasses; saintly exponents are forever practicing their all-tolerant smiles in the local bars, and the newspapers cannot spare a week without an interview with some local poet just returned from his year’s stint with

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  • Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

    Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Distributed by New York Graph­ic Society, Greenwich, Conn). 96 pages, illustrated.

    Parents who find themselves stupefied by the vapid quality of present-day children’s books will find this selection a joy. Illustrations for each of the fables selected range from 15th-cen­tury Italian woodcuts to drawings by Alexander Calder, and the fables themselves are presented handsomely print­ed in translations also ranging from Caxton to Marianne Moore. J. J. Grand­ville’s 19th-century wood engravings, which have been charming

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