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. 27, No. 5, January

Gallery Chronicle
Living masters have it rough, and Helen Frankenthaler has been living as a master for over hall a century. In 1952, at the age of only twenty-three, she created Mountains and Sea, an iconic painting that forever secured her place in the history of art....
Guarding the Boundaries
Since I've received no education in philosophy whatever, it is no doubt very rash of me to make a broad generalization concerning the subject, but I shall risk it nonetheless: that in the whole history of philosophy not a single important philosophical...
Introduction: The Dictatorship of Relativism
There are no facts, only interpretations. --Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and [for] men who claim to be bearers of an external objective truth, then there is nothing more relativistic...
Ireland's Romanticizer
The Crawford Gallery in Cork is to be congratulated on its major exhibition of the works of Daniel Maclise (1806-1870), one of Cork's and indeed Ireland's most remarkable historical painters, a man of whose talents they are rightly proud. (1) Yet Maclise...
'Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton" the New Museum, New York
'Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton" The New Museum, New York. October 8, 2008-January 11, 2009 The forty-three-year-old artist Elizabeth Peyton, now the subject of Live Forever, a mid-career retrospective at The New Museum, gained notoriety for her portraits...
Off the Main Stem
Just what makes a political animal? The recent election showed us many such creatures and gave us the opportunity to observe their frantic machinations up close. They were everywhere: in the Senate, on the campaign trail, in back-room offices, holding...
On the First Day of Holiday
As we write, the Christmas season is upon us. You remember Christmas. That was the ever-so-slightly Christian holiday that children and retailers loved. Santa. Toys. A few weeks off from school. Like so many other quaint practices of our civilization,...
Prodigal Son
When I started reviewing dance in New York City, Jerome Robbins was alive and well and making ballets for the New York City Ballet. It was 1984, the year after George Balanchine died. Peter Martins was the story then, intensely watched, each new ballet...
Relativism as Political Absolutism
Aside from a small assortment of political extremists, religious fanatics, and rabid ideologues, few today are more certain of their position, or less open to the views of others, than those who profess general notions of relativism. This fact will no...
Relativism: Paving the Road to Radicalism
The vignette was charged with drama. A government informant had wheedled his way into radical Islam's inner sanctum: the Jersey City apartment that served as home and haven for "the emir of jihad" the honorific by which Omar Abdel Rahman, the infamous...
The Art-Market Bubble
What's the silliest thing you have heard in the past year or two? Take your time. Our candidate comes from Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's head of contemporary art, who declared in 2007 that "the best art is the most expensive because the market is so smart."...
The Mystification of Change
As an example of media obtuseness, the emphatic adversatives in the New York Times's headline to Fox Butterfield's classic story of 1997--"Crime Rates are Falling, but Prisons Keep on Filling: More Inmates, Despite Slight Drop in Crime"--take some beating....
The Temptation of Pope Benedict
The phrase "dictatorship of relativism" is only four years old, yet it has already become part of ordinary discourse. Why? I can think of two main reasons. The first is that the occasion on which it was first uttered was highly significant: the last...
Truth vs. Equality
Relativism is a key weapon of those who seek to undermine Western civilization and its distinctive culture, one which embodies crucial values, its morality based on individual responsibility, and. its strong respect for those who seek objective truth....