David Shapiro

  • Romanticism

    SOME CRITICS FIND CLASSICISM in a grain of sand and Romanticism in a wildflower. In doing his journalistic best to report diligently on so-called Romantic phenomena, Hugh Honour creates a highly wrought textbook for students, but one that is not going to convince scholars of anything.1

    In the first half of this century, as Jacques Barzun reminds us in his Classic, Romantic, and Modern (1961), there was a lashing out against Romanticism, seen as neo-primitivistic and nationalistic. Then there was an attempt, by Barzun and others, to understand and rehabilitate and vivify our sense of the Romantics

  • Ideas and Earth

    For the flaneur, in whose shadow Proust walked, is also a thing of the past, and it is no longer possible to stroll through museums letting oneself be delighted here and there. The only relation to art that can be sanctioned in a reality that stands under the constant threat of catastrophe is one that treats works of art with the same deadly seriousness that characterizes the world today.

    —Theodor W. Adorno

    June 3rd. It doesn’t seem possible—the Pacific Ocean! I have ordered sixteen million tons of blue paint. Waiting anxiously for it to arrive. How would grass be as a substitute? cement?

    —Kenneth

  • A View of Kassel

    DOCUMENTA 6 MAY BE SEEN as a circus, as a market venture, as a Saturnalia of permissiveness, as a political revitalization movement in Kassel. The catalogue, extensive and meditated, is perhaps scholastic in its categories, particularly in an age in which overlappings and dissolutions are so important (is Borges fiction or essay?). This Documenta is not truly international, but how much do we want a global show? American art here seems superior, but that statement may already reveal an encapsulated chauvinism and a passing epoch. What is best seems to be involved in a receptivity to a pluralistic