PRINT February 1963


Books Received: The Best in Arts: Arts Yearbook 6 and The Bitter Years, 1935–41

The Best in Arts: Arts Yearbook 6, edited by James R. Mellow (New York: Horizon Press), 1962. 168 pp. illus.

THIS YEAR’S ARTS YEARBOOK takes the form of Mr. Mellow’s selection of articles published in Arts Magazine from the period 1956–1961. Included is Sidney Geist’s fine welcome of “A New Sculptor: Mark Di Suvero,” and a remarkable article on the Suprematist and Constructivist movements in Russia, “Avant-Garde and Revolution,” by K. A. Jelenski, which Arts was keen enough to have translated from the Polish-language “Kultura,” in 1960.

The best in Arts has always been Hilton Kramer, and the best of Hilton Kramer has always been the cautious, measured quality of his intelligence, shown nicely here in his articles on Nevelson, Nakian, and Stankiewicz.

The Bitter Years, 1935–41: Rural America as seen by the Photographers of the Farm Security Administration, edited by Edward Steichen (New York: Museum of Modern Art), 1962.

THE CATALOG OF THE photographic exhibition of the same name, reproducing photos by Dorothea Lange, Jack Delano, Ben Shahn, Carl Mydans and other members of the Photographic Unit of the Farm Security Administration. Most extraordinary is the way even the best of the photos in this group seem overdone and heavy-handed when compared to the brilliant, untampered-with cleanliness and strength of Walker Evans’s “Sharecropper’s Family,” and “Interior—Tenant Farm.”

Philip Leider