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. 21, No. 6, February

A Mild & Harmless Relativism?
Extreme relativism probably isn't explicitly accepted by even the most scatterbrained of postmodernists or sociologists of science. Most postmodern views certainly lead to extreme relativism, and in some cases amount to little more than extreme relativism...
Confidence Motion. (the Media)
Not unusually, Time magazine's story got the thing just exactly wrong: "Whitewashing the Past" read its cover line, superimposed on the photo of a worried-looking Trent Lott. What the editors appear to have meant was that Lott himself was attempting...
"Lois Orswell, David Smith, and Modern Art". (Exhibition Notes)
at the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 21, 2002-February 16, 2003 Whatever you do this month, get yourself to Cambridge, Massachusetts. There you will find a perfect exhibition from a heretofore anonymous art collector named...
Notes & Comments: February 2003
The diversity con game ... the false theory of progress, which maintains that we alter the test instead of trying to pass the test. --G. K. Chesterton Last month, the Bush administration announced that it was filing legal briefs to challenge...
Richness, Quietness, Pleasure. (Art)
Finding the modern French paintings at the Hermitage is not easy--and that's without taking into account the time and effort it takes to get to St. Petersburg. Once you get past the clogged entrance and the hostile babushka selling tickets, you have...
The Anatomy of Murder
One way and another, I meet quite a lot of murderers. Their crimes are merely sordid: there is nothing about them that remotely brings to mind De Quincey's famous essay, "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." The passions that lead to modern...
"The Park Avenue Cubists: Gallatin, Morris, Frelinghuysen, and Shaw". (Exhibition Notes)
at the Grey Art Gallery, New York. January 14-March 29, 2003 Clement Greenberg was undoubtedly a great critic. But he also undoubtedly had his crotchets and blind spots. One crotchet he inherited from Marxism. He tended to see artistic developments...
What Happened to Aldous Huxley?
Metaphysics is out of fashion. There is, as department-store sales assistants say, not much call for it nowadays. The word "metaphysics" does not even occur in the index of the current bestseller about human nature, Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate,...
Why I Became a Conservative
I was brought up at a time when half the English people voted Conservative at national elections and almost all English intellectuals regarded the term "conservative" as a term of abuse. To be a conservative, I was told, was to be on the side of age...
"Wolfgang Tillmans: Still Life". (Exhibition Notes)
at the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts. October 25, 2002-February 23, 2003 Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968) proves that for every ying there is a yang. Remember Tillmans? The year 2000 was that halcyon year in which this artist won the...