COLUMNS

  • Books

    German Aesthetic and Literary Criticism , Aesthetic Theory, and And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos

    THIS WORK OFFERS MAJOR critical texts by Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis, Ludwig Tieck, Karl Solger, Jean Paul Richter, August Wilhelm von Schlegel, and of course Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Kathleen Wheeler also provides an admirably straightforward explication of the ideas and issues that engaged these romantic thinkers and literati, and a strong reminder that their work anticipated many contemporary interests, from the role of language to that of irony in art. Much of the material here has been previously unavailable in English; two more anthologies covering additional materials from the same

    Read more
  • Books

    Minima Moralia, Narcissism and Death, and Jewish Experience in the Art of the Twentieth Century

    MINIMA MORALIA IS THEODOR Adorno’s most characteristic work, and has become a classic of critical thinking. It is an examination of subjectivity in a situation of vanishing subjectivity, by means of an aphoristic—quasi-subjective—method. As Adorno writes, “If today the subject is vanishing, aphorisms take upon themselves the duty to consider the evanescent itself as essential:” He is aware of the contradiction in dialectical method this entails: “Dialectical theory, abhorring anything isolated, cannot admit aphorisms as such,” especially those that seem to assume “the mere being-for-itself of

    Read more
  • Books

    Diane Arbus: A Biography, Diane Arbus: Magazine Work, Botero, Comme des Garçons Ca-ta-logue, Cindy Sherman and Georgia O'Keeffe

    PATRICIA BOSWORTH’S FAILURE TO gain the cooperation of several who knew Diane Arbus especially well, including her two daughters, her ex-but-only husband, and close colleagues such as Richard Avedon and Marvin Israel, has resulted in a very strange and quite memorable biography. Arbus’ brother, the poet Howard Nemerov, and her often-slighted younger sister, did agree to talk. More surprisingly, so did their mother, perhaps because she had so little to say—a poignance, of course, in itself. In absorbing detail we hear about Diane-the-boss’-daughter, Diane-the-student, Diane-my-first-flame,

    Read more
  • Books

    Alfred Jarry, Edward Hopper, Hip Hop, The Life and Times of Little Richard, and Partners

    THE Q.L.P. SERIES WANTED a Hopper book to go with its 60 other titles; thus this respectable survey, which against Gail Levin’s far more inclusive Edward Hopper: The Art and the Artist (1981) and Edward Hopper As Illustrator (1979) is close to mere commodity.

    Two distant but related points might be made. The heavily coated paper of The Art and the Artist gives the color reproductions an almost Kodachrome sheen, utterly distorting Hopper’s use of light rather than perspective to catch spatial and emotional depth; the duller paper in the new book preserves the flatness of the pictures. The way the

    Read more
  • Books

    The 60s Without Apology, Telex Iran, Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Wired

    JUDY JACKLIN, JOHN BELUSHI’S WIDOW, chose Bob Woodward, a writer without a sense of humor, to memorialize her husband, who had his moments. Woodward found a few good stories, such as how Columbia turned the Belushi/Dan Aykroyd vehicle Neighbors, one of the great turkeys of our time, into a marginal money-maker; it’s not enough to make your day. A man who refuses to speculate, charting the disintegration of a man who refused to think, Woodward can testify only to the meticulousness of his research; the reader is left to ask the questions—or rather, dulled by the legal-archives research to the

    Read more
  • Books

    Apollinaire, Eye to Eye, and Jean Cocteau and the French Scene

    “I HAVE EXPERIENCED MY greatest artistic emotions, when I suddenly discovered the sublime beauty of sculptures executed by the anonymous artists from Africa. These passionate and rigorously logical works are what the human imagination has produced as most potent and most beautiful.” Picasso’s earliest recorded statement on art was transcribed by Guillaume Apollinaire, who may even have been with him when he looked into a shop window or visited the Trocadéro collection in Paris. For Apollinaire this marked one stage in a lifetime’s research; by 1918, the year of his death, he had published (with

    Read more
  • Books

    An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture, Art Dealers, and Jedd Garet

    WE WAITED SEVERAL MONTHS after the exhibition’s opening to get the catalogue for “An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture,” the show that marked the reopening of MoMA last spring. The tentative rumor that Kynaston McShine, curator of the exhibition, might have a viable defense of his blatant fiasco is now allayed. His statement is as processed as the show. And in an odd way the catalogue serves a purpose: it acts as a coffin and puts the show to rest. But since the exhibition was dead before it even opened.all the coffin holds is a couple of bones. Stick it in your aquarium.

    Read more
  • Books

    London in the Thirties, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion, and Untitled '84

    CASUAL, FAST, AND LOOSE. A picture book of snapshots of artists, dealers, and critics, some of which end up being unusually revealing. Flip through the pages and have fun figuring out the criteria used for inclusion and for the layout. The paper is cheap newsprint and the book is full of typographical errors, the best of which leads to an “errata”: “JUDY RIFKA is the woman with the mouse on her face and not JENNY HOLZER!”. This and the beefcake cover could make it a cult collectible.

    Roland Hagenberg, Untitled ’84: The Artworld In The Eighties, introduction by Robert Pincus-Witten /9New York:

    Read more
  • Books

    Auguste Rodin, Art of the City, Art, Maps of the Heavens, and The Sketchbooks of Hiroshige

    ELEVEN TOPICS ARE DISCUSSED in these conversations between Auguste Rodin and the critic Paul Gsell, set like a Socratic walk in the garden with the white-robed “Master” presenting his wisdom to a respectful chronicler. Mannered and self-righteous, Rodin expands about the true and the good, and if to our jaded sensibilities he sounds pompous, his stature allows him this. More readable than the long-winded earlier translation, this new English rendering is more than a period piece or a source for Rodin scholars. While it is hard to undo the memory of the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Rodin piece,

    Read more
  • Books

    The Architecture of Death, The Great Cat Massacre, DV, Glen Baxter His Life, and Has Modernism Failed?

    FOR CLARITY AND DEPTH of scholarship, for its unobtrusive erudition and the light it casts on what we have imagined to be the function of the cemetery for the quick and the dead, Richard Etlin’s book is a marvel. It stands as an example of the value and beauty of humanistic study and ranks among the highest works of interdisciplinary learning in the history of ideas.

    Etlin fulfills his claim that “this book . . . is not a simple architectural or social history. It is an exploration of how a society fashions its physical world to support and sustain its most cherished convictions and deepest

    Read more
  • Books

    $19.84

    STARTING WITH THE TITLE $19.84, William Wegman pokes fun at life in the ’80s—of course, everything that used to cost $5.00 (like artists’ publications) now costs $19.84. Actually his book costs $10.00 and this is cheap, really, for what’s inside. One example to suggest the rest: Foster Parents, 1984, is a Polaroid photo of a small girl holding the hand of a woman draped in tiger-striped fabric, who in turn is standing next to a man draped in giraffe-patterned fabric except the spots are black. Get it? OK let’s try another one. How about a line drawing in black and white of a grown man and a boy.

    Read more
  • Books

    Alphonse Mucha, Breaking and the New York City Breakers, _Everyday Problems, American Impressionism, and The Restless Decade

    IN THE “AGE OF THE COLLECTOR” everything is fair game, and Alphonse Mucha’s art nouveau posters and panels prove no exception. It was only a matter of time before a book devoted to his graphic work was published. If you’re a member of the Alphonse Mucha Fan Club, an avid collector of his work, or a lover of ingratiating, middlebrow, fin de siècle symbolism, then this may just be the right book. It attempts to be a definitive catalogue of Mucha’s work; every known poster, panel, and variant is reproduced. Many of the reproductions are given a full page. Dimensions, publisher, and date are listed,

    Read more