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. 19, No. 6, February

Exorcising Sociobiology
Innocents imagine that universities, the names of many of whose departments include "science" (as in social science), do not perform exorcisms. That is a mistake. Today, universities are among the busiest sites for the practice of intellectual exorcism....
Il Trovatore
Il Trovatore, by Giuseppe Verdi, at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. There is something quintessential about Verdi's Il Trovatore. It is not, to be sure, the most performed opera in the canon (Carman or La Boheme is more likely), nor is it the...
In the Land of Fulfillment
It was the most sensitive of times, it was the crudest of times. It was the most informal of times (all that cheerful use of first names), it was the most impersonal of times (all those recorded messages). It was the most tolerant of times, it was...
Kenneth Noland: Circles
"Kenneth Noland: Circles" at Ameringer Howard, New York. December 7, 2000-January 20, 2001 Two years ago, in the valedictory show at Andre Emmerich's gallery, Kenneth Noland brilliantly reimagined the circle paintings that had made him famous some...
Luc Tuymans: Mwana Kitoko
"Luc Tuymans: Mwana Kitoko" at David Zwirner, New York. November 23-December 23, 2000 One of the less remarked-upon artistic phenomena of the last decade or so is the way the recent vogue for painting from photographs has ushered in a mini-era of...
Making the Case for Figuration
Every city has its little, uncrowded museums offering special pleasures to the initiated. In Paris, there's the Musee Dapper, with its superb exhibitions of African art, hidden behind a bourgeois apartment house. In London, there are Sir John Soane's...
Morality for Solipsists
Medicine might at first sight appear to be an unpromising field for political correctness. After all, a broken leg is a broken leg, and there is pretty wide agreement about how to treat one, even among those who would agree about little else. But modern...
Notes & Comments: February 2001
What more can they ask for? In June 1996, the critic Mary Eberstadt wrote a much-noticed article for The Weekly Standard entitled "Pedophilia Chic" Detailing the many signs in our culture that the taboo against pedophilia was eroding, the piece...
Outside the Mainstream
Not long ago, I went to a movie that was all too typical of small, independent American films--and not a few big studio productions, too. Spring Forward, written and directed by Tom Gilroy, had a lot going for it--mainly two terrific performances by...
The Draftsman's Art: Master Drawings from the National Gallery of Scotland
"The Draftsman's Art: Master Drawings from the National Gallery of Scotland," at the Frick Collection, New York. December 12, 2000--February 25, 2001 While I was leafing through the catalogue for "The Draftsman's Art: Master Drawings from the National...
The Last Elizabethan: Hart Crane at 100
With that odd mixture of verbal genius and sheer bumpkinship that he so distinctively embodied from the beginning, Hart Crane plundered and ransacked the English language, especially the diction and vocabulary of the Elizabethans, like a buccaneer...
The Museum as Fun House
fun house, n. A building or an attraction in an amusement park that features various devices intended to surprise, frighten, or amuse. --The American Heritage Dictionary I threw the bottle rack and the urinal into their faces as a challenge,...
Walsall Redux
In the September 2000 New Criterion, I published an article about the town of Walsall and its fantastically bad new art gallery ("Crudity Beyond Belief"). I passed what I thought was an uncontroversial aesthetic judgment upon that unfortunate town,...