COLUMNS

  • Books

    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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  • Books

    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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  • Architecture

    Architecture

    From December, 1964 to July, 1965, the University of California at Berkeley conducted a competition to select an architect for the proposed University Arts Center, a museum complex to function under the directorship of Dr. Peter Selz. The jury for the competition consisted of three architects: Lawrence B. Anderson, Gardner A. Dailey and Ralph Rapson.

    The jury’s choice lighted on the design submitted by Mario Ciampi, of San Francisco. Careful examination of the final entries leaves little doubt that the Ciampi entry was, by all odds, the best, and that the jury was wise in selecting it. The

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  • Books

    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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  • Books

    Michael Fried’s 3 American Painters

    BOOKS

    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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  • Books

    Michael Kirby’s Happenings: An Illustrated Anthology

    BOOKS

    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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  • Film

    Two Films and an Interlude by Kenneth Anger

    Kenneth Anger, who has been making experimental films for almost two decades, made his first one, “Fireworks,” in 1947. It is probably the closest he will ever come to fashioning a picture out of his own personal beliefs. “Fireworks” has the declarative sound of a will affirming itself. As with all his work, the sensibility it reveals is prankish, mannered, and drawn to the outré. But like the best of Anger’s films—this one and the one for which he is now most famous (and mildly notorious), “Scorpio Rising,” the nearest thing to a popular favorite the underground has yet produced—the picture is

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  • Architecture

    Architecture and the New Vernacular

    An idea, now treated by those in the know as highly old-fashioned, is that a distinction should always be made between architecture and buildings. As Gilbert Scott, the great 19th-century English Gothic Revivalist put it, “Architecture consists of the decoration of construction.” While such an assertion would only bring smiles from our current schools of architecture or from our professional architectural journals, this is a distinction which is still almost universally made on a popular level. To most people, that which is thought of as architectural in a typical project house, are shutters,

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  • Books

    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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  • Books

    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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  • Books

    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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  • Books

    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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