COLUMNS

  • Peter Selz’s The Work of Jean Dubuffet

    Peter Selz, The Work of Jean Dubuffet (New York: Museum of Modern Art), 1962. Illus., 187 pp.

    THE EXHIBITION IS TAKEN DOWN; the paintings are returned to their owners, or to the artist’s studio. What remains is history, and more and more that history has come to be embodied in “the catalog.” Nowadays, the catalog is often a full-length book, written by some notable critic or curator. The exhibition brings forth the book; the book purports to be the history of the exhibition. If the books represent the paintings to have been something which they were not, how can they, stacked in corners or hanging

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  • Harold Rosenberg’s Arshile Gorky

    Harold Rosenberg, Arshile Gorky (New York: Horizon Press, lnc.), 1962, 143 pgs.

    ONE WRITER RECENTLY EXPRESSED the idea that the proper attitude for the critic of contemporary art is that of “sympathetic interest,” (a phrase which Mr. John Canaday immediately took to task as smacking of partisanship, or at least the opposite of his own favorite myth, “objectivity”). The phrase is a particularly apt one. The honest critic must sooner or later weary of setting up standards and theories which the very next canvases by his favorite artists knock over like so many wooden bottles. Particularly in periods

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  • John Canaday’s Embattled Critic

    John Canaday, Embattled Critic (New York: Noonday Press), 1962, 238 pgs.

    WHEN A GROUP OF SOME 50 artists and critics wrote to the New York Times questioning Mr. Canaday’s fairness, the Times received 600 letters from its readers, 550 of which supported Mr. Canaday. His book was greeted with full-page pleasure on the art pages of Newsweek Magazine. His voice is undoubtedly the voice of millions. But Mr. Canaday, nevertheless, insists that he is “the embattled critic.” To understand this, we must first of all grasp that Mr. Canaday’s view of recent American art is fundamentally that of a Great

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  • “Taxes and Art” and Richard H. Rush's “Art as an Investment”

    Taxes and Art (French & Co., Inc., Prentice-Hall, Inc.), 1961.

    Richard H. Rush, Art as an Investment  (Prentice-Hall, Inc.), 1961, 418 pp.

    OF THESE TWO BOOKS, Rush’s Art as an Investment must be considered the more vile, because it costs ten dollars and has 418 pages, while the French & Co. booklet can be had for the asking and is blessed with only 20 pages. By all other standards, they are at a dead heat.

    Shortly after the appearance of the French & Co. booklet, The Commissioner of Internal Revenue issued a statement declaring that his office would examine with a wiser, if sadder eye, tax returns

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  • Fred W. McDarrah's “The Artist’s World in Pictures”

    Fred W. McDarrah, The Artist’s World in Pictures (New York: Dutton), 1961, 192 pp.

    SO MUCH HAS THE MILIEU in which contemporary art is created become a part of our understanding of that art, that it is no surprise at all to discover that in a book comprising over three hundred photographs whose exclusive subject matter is “The Artist’s World,” less than a dozen of these photographs actually reproduce works of art. The rest of the book is given over entirely to an attempt to convey something of the mood and flavor of the hectic, feverish world of cold-water lofts, gallery openings, critics,

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