COLUMNS

  • Books

    Harriet Janis and Rudi Blesh’s Collage

    Harriet Janis and Rudi Blesh, Collage (Philadelphia: Chilton Co.), 1962. 302 pp., illus.

    PITY THE STUDENT, the collector, the ob­server, the artist, trying with pitiful sincerity to find his way in the mad­house of contemporary art history. No sooner does William Seitz clear a cor­ridor with his “assemblage ideas,” than along come Mrs. Janis and Mr. Blesh with their “collage idea,” illustrating their propositions with the same artists and, indeed, the same works. Be­cause the authors of “Collage” are en­thusiasts rather than thinkers, “fans” rather than historians, Seitz is perhaps more convincing,

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  • Books

    Sir John Rothenstein’s British Art Since 1900

    Sir John Rothenstein, British Art Since 1900 (Phaidon), 1962. Illus., 181 pages. 

    THE PICTURE OF BRITISH PAINTING and sculpture is, happily, not nearly so dreary as this book would lead one to believe; one must only keep in mind that almost the entire flock of painters and sculptors who have given vitality to English art in the last decade are completely ignored both in Sir John’s rather stuffy preface and in the deadening series of half-tone photographs following. (One would think that national pride, if nothing else, would encourage the publisher to be more lavish in color plates for the first

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  • Books

    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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  • Books

    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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  • Books

    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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  • Books

    “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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  • Books

    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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  • Top Ten

    Tod Lippy

    Tod Lippy is an artist, designer, editor, writer, and curator based in Brooklyn. He is the creator of the nonprofit arts publication Esopus (2003–2018) and executive director of the Esopus Foundation.

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  • Top Ten

    DonChristian

    DonChristian is a New York-based artist, musician, and teacher. He creates videos, public murals, and time- and music-based performances. He has shown work at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, and the New Museum. He is also touring his debut album, Where There’s Smoke (2018), throughout Europe and North America.

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  • Top Ten

    Jeremy O. Harris

    Jeremy O. Harris is an actor and playwright currently residing in New Haven, Connecticut, by way of Los Angeles, California. Upcoming productions include Slave Play at the New York Theatre Workshop this fall, and “Daddy”—coproduced by New York’s Vineyard Theatre and the New Group—starring Alan Cumming, in winter 2019. He received the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award for Slave Play, and is currently under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and Playwrights Horizons, both in New York.

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  • Top Ten

    Marilyn Minter

    Marilyn Minter is an artist and activist who lives and works in New York. She has staged solo exhibitions at numerous institutions in the United States and abroad, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; La Conservera, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Murcia, Spain; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland; and the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg. She is currently preparing for solo shows at Baldwin Gallery in Aspen and at Lehmann Maupin in Hong Kong.

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