New Criterion

A magazine that publishes articles, notes and comment on cultural life in America. Publishes contributions from poets, authors, public policy scholars, humanities lecturers, and critics. Includes poetry, arts criticism, and commentary. Departments in thea

Articles from Vol. 20, No. 4, December

A Malign Legacy. (the Survival of Culture: IV)
Wherever on this planet ideals of personal freedom and dignity apply, there you will find the cultural inheritance of England. --Karel Capek Most of the world for most of the time has lived under tyranny. Choice does not come into the matter....
Bruegel the Elder
The exhibition of Bruegel the Elder's drawings and the engraved prints derived from them at the Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a true feast for both connoisseurs and iconographers. (1) The exhibit is of special importance to connoisseurs, as it...
Came the Farce of Worryism. (the Media)
"You know things really are getting back to normal when cable news networks break into Osama bin Laden coverage to bring viewers a good old-fashioned car chase" wrote Lisa de Moraes in The Washington Post of November 8. Actually, it was a truck chase--or...
Chelsea: Galleries & Garages. (Notebook)
There is a pathetic story of a man from Connecticut who, a few years ago, took his Porsche to be repaired in the Chelsea district of Manhattan, only to find that an art gallery--and a big one, too--had usurped the space where his garage had been. What's...
"Dallas" Auf Deutsch. (Music)
If the tenor of the vast abundance of books about the works of Richard Wagner is indicative of anything, it is that it is impossible to approach the man and his work with a light heart. His operas impose on any listener a profound seriousness along...
Developing in Reverse: Signac at the Metropolitan
In his happiest moments [Signac] succeeded in giving the modern picture--that makeshift with which we beautify our dwellings--a brilliant and even ideal form, making it a beautiful spot on the wall, that lends itself readily to a frame, and represents,...
Exhibition Note. (Art)
"Along the Nile: Early Photographs of Egypt" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. September 11-December 30, 2001 Unlike the Description de L'Egypte--the engraved and textual squawk-box published between 1809 and 1828--the early photographs...
Gallery Chronicle. (Art)
One could say that John Koch (1909-1978) painted as if modernism--Manet included --simply never occurred, but such a statement fails to account for the vehemence of his rejection of most twentieth-century art and the pointedness of his rebellion against...
Notes & Comments: December 2001
The New Criterion on art Although The New Criterion has never before published a special art section, there is a sense in which we like to think that every issue has contained one. From our first number, in September 1982, we have consistently devoted...
Sculpture in the Void: Giacometti at MOMA
These days, Alberto Giacometti is seen as the paradigm of his generation of Europeans--born in 1901, he died in 1966. He is regarded as the artist whose work best sums up the mood of the ravaged, postwar world and the tense decades of the nuclear age...
The Man Who Created MOMA
A work of art is an infinitely complex focus of human experience. The mystery of its creation, its history, and the rise and fall of its esthetic, documentary, sentimental, and commercial values, the endless variety of its relationships to the other...
The Realism of Thomas Eakins
I would have them taught facts and things, rather than words and signs. -- Stephen Girard, 1831. My honors are misunderstanding, persecution & neglect, enhanced because unsought. --Thomas Eakins, 1894 At first blush, the realism of...
The Various Alex Katz
The painter Alex Katz is a curious figure in the annals of postwar American art. Throughout his fifty-year career, he's been perpetually situated to the side of the art world's mainstream, yet never so far to the side that he isn't in the thick of...
Translating Octavio Paz. (Letters)
To the Editors: Stephen Schwartz's review of my translation of Octavio Paz's Itinerary ("Liberated by America;' February 2000 has only recently been drawn to my attention. His comments naturally reflect his taste, his literary ear, and his politics...
W. G. Sebald: The Past Is Another Country. (Books)
How strange it is, to be standing leaning against the current of time. --W. G. Sebald, Vertigo Travel, Kierkegaard claimed, is the best way to avoid despair. But for the German writer W. G. Sebald, it leads, as often as not, from one state of...
Wrong Turns
Dada was an extreme protest against the physical side of painting.... It was a sort of nihilism to which I am still very sympathetic. --Marcel Duchamp, 1946 INANE adj. Lacking sense or substance; empty. --The American Heritage Dictionary ...