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. 28, No. 4, December

Bright-Eyed British Modern
Every now and again an exhibition comes along that not only puts great works of art on view and deepens one's understanding of the subject under review but also upends or substantially revises the received wisdom surrounding that subject. "Wild Thing:...
Denial of the Obvious
Kathleen Parker shot to journalistic stardom and a regular slot on the Washington Post's op-ed page last year by a successful campaign of self-advertisement as a comely conservative female who was nevertheless prepared to adopt the liberal media's line...
Devotion, Italian Style
As years go, 1771 was not particularly memorable. Something, however, occurred that year which might also have been forgotten had it not involved one of the world's great works of art. It happened in the lovely town of Siena, by then a sleepy provincial...
Eero's Modern Fossils
"Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future" is the first retrospective of the life and work of Eero Saarinen (1910-61), a genuinely distinguished post--World War II American architect. (1) This scholarly and thoroughly researched exhibition, long overdue, opened...
Institutional Memory
While there are hundreds of commercial art galleries in New York, only a handful of them really matter. Readers will be familiar with their names through our regular gallery chronicle. These galleries are more than retail outlets for art. They are cultural...
Kandinsky's Hocus-Pocus
The Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) occupies a pioneering role in the modernist canon. He was among a handful of artists who first ventured into abstraction. Pure abstraction, that is: Picasso and Braque, while delving into the headier...
"Looking In: Robert Frank's the Americans"
"Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans" The Metropolitan Museum of Art. September 22, 2009-January 3, 2010 In 1955, the Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank, then a slightly disillusioned thirty-one-year-old expat living in New York City, bought a...
Loose Ends in Liverpool
At a loose end in Liverpool, a city which looks as if it has barely survived a protracted civil war, and much of whose population looks as if it survives by means of grudging charitable donations (which in effect it does, since considerably more than...
"Renaissance to Revolution: French Drawings from the National Gallery of Art, 1500-1800"
"Renaissance to Revolution: French Drawings from the National Gallery of Art, 1500-1800" The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. October 1, 2009-January 31, 2010 The Florentines established the primacy of draftsmanship, elevating drawing to an...
The Art Market Explained
As the auction commenced on the evening of November 11, 2009, the elbows of Tobias Meyer, the auctioneer and Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby's, ascended to a position in line with his shoulders. "600" he said in his steely continental accent....
The Art World vs. the World of Art
"Art," Andy Warhol once observed, "is what you can get away with." Was he right? Much that happens in the art world--which is not necessarily coterminous with what happens in the world of art--would seem to suggest that Warhol was on to something. Certainly,...
The Bauhaus Restored
The Bauhaus lasted exactly as long as Germany's Weimar Republic (1919-1933) and is its principal cultural achievement. But the revolutionary school of art and design is also an achievement of modernism itself, for it answered a most vexing question:...
The Boy in the Gray Flannel Suit
Something one notices about the audiences at Manhattan's 59e59 theater, just off Park Avenue: They don't look like they've come very far to get there. They embody elite comfort and complacency, a fact that actor Dan Lauria, playing Jimmy Hoffa in Good...
"The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting & Sculpture 1600-1700"
"The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting & Sculpture 1600-1700" The National Gallery, London. October 21, 2009-January 24, 2010 When I was in London last month, I visited a couple of churches with an English friend who is a walking encyclopedia about...