TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT July 1962

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 Conspiracy which only he has had the courage to expose.

When Mr. Canaday writes that “for a decade the bulk of abstract art in America has followed that course of least resistance and quickest profit,” he reinforces a peculiar notion about the state of contemporary American art, namely, that an all-powerful

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