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. 17, No. 2, October

A Disagreeable Aroma
BBC Television is making a film about Wordsworth and Coleridge. Twenty or thirty years ago the idea would have caused barely a ripple. It was the kind of thing that the BBC was expected to do. But not anymore: and in a world where television has less...
An Anniversary in Montreal: "Refus Global" at 50
Fifty years ago, on August 9, 1948, a startling document was published in Montreal. Refus global ("Total Rejection") was an angry, poetic declaration of aesthetic independence, an assertion of passionate belief in modernism and even more in intellectual...
An Opacity of Hopelessness
The most notable cultural emblem of 1990s Russia rises from an island in the middle of the Moscow River. Peter the Great stands 196 feet tall. His feet, spread wide, are planted on a base of buildings that look as though they might have been stamped...
Bonnard and "The Stupidities"
I agree with you that the painter's only solid ground is the palette and colors, but as soon as the colors achieve an illusion, they are no longer judged and the stupidities begin. --Bonnard to Matisse, 1935 In short, there is something abject...
Humpty Dumpty: Together Again
Within twenty-four hours of the release of Kenneth Starr's report claiming that President Clinton had been guilty of impeachable offenses in attempting to cover up his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, it was obvious from the elite press's treatment...
"Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958-1968"
"Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958-1968" at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. July 9-September 22, 1998 On more than one occasion, I have had the opportunity to liken an art exhibition to an amusement park funhouse. A lot of contemporary art--installation...
Rousseau & the Origins of Liberalism
The modern world gives proof at every point that it is far easier to destroy institutions than to create them. Nevertheless, few people seem to understand this truth. Britain's Labor Party has embarked upon a series of "constitutional reforms" that...
The Greatest Victorian
There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in getting money. --Samuel Johnson, Boswell's Life of Johnson The essence of civilization, as we know, is dullness. In an ultimate analysis, it is only an elaborate invention...
"Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916): Danish Painter of Solitude and Light"
"Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916): Danish Painter of Solitude and Light" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. June 19-September 7, 1998 The objects now classified as "art" have become so varied as to befuddle the most dedicated observer...