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. 4, December

Adolf Gottlieb
For years a wonderful little etching has hung near my desk. It commemorates an evening in 1933 when a group of young artists in Brooklyn Heights, three men and three women, celebrated their friendship, ambition, and dedication to modernism by making...
Architecture & Ideology
"The problem of architecture as I see it ... is the problem of all art--the elimination of the human element from the consideration of form" --Professor Otto Silenus, in Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall This meticulous observance of "pure styles"...
Art History, Oxford Style
Rumors of the death of the Western canon have been greatly exaggerated, and no more so than in the field of art history. There Giotto and Michelangelo, Cezanne and Picasso soldier bravely on, holding the high ground, and they will continue to do...
Bonnard's "Butterflies"
A glamorization of modern art as revolutionary runs the risks, first, of neglecting what modern art may share with the past and, second, of promoting the myth of alienation from the past as an explanation of modernist fragmentation and destabilized...
Does Abstract Art Have a Future?
It is hard to tell if abstract painting actually got worse [after the 1960s], if it merely stagnated, or if it simply looked bad in comparison to the hopes its own accomplishments had raised. --Frank Stella, Working Space, 1986 It must be acknowledged...
Fight Club. (Dance)
Twyla Tharp has been choreographing dances for almost forty years, and by this time she should be a mature artist, yet she is not. If your subjects are aggression and apocalypse, how much can you mature? The filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, who made a...
Gallery Chronicle. (Art)
I was one of those people unself-consciously entranced by the Modern's 1993 Robert Ryman retrospective. Yes, its extremism was almost comical: having restricted his palette to white since the early sixties, he filled the museum's galleries with...
"Masterpieces of European Painting from the Toledo Museum of Art" at the Frick Collection, New York. October 29-January 5, 2003. (Exhibition Note)
Were one to stroll through The Frick Collection, bedazzled by its many masterpieces and paying only nominal attention to the requisite wall labels, one might mistake the twelve paintings included in the exhibition "Masterpieces of European Painting...
Starting Out
This past summer I focused on buttercups in tall green grass. I have been attracted to this motif since the mid-1950s. There is no perfect solution. If I settle for the tone differences, the green becomes dead. If I settle for the correct light,...
Tenured Adolescents. (Notes & Comments: December 2002)
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!" But it's "Saviour of `is country" when the guns begin to shoot; ... --Rudyard Kipling, "Tommy" (1890) We have been reminded of Kipling's poem "Tommy" a good deal lately....
The Art of Collecting
When asked to say something about "collecting," the first thought that enters my mind is a negative one: it is not "accumulating" And a second negative: it is not "investing" What then, stated positively, is collecting? It is acquiring objects...
The Lessons of Wellington
Perhaps with the exception of Churchill, England has produced no more a remarkable man of action than the Duke of Wellington, who put an end to the Napoleonic Wars at Waterloo--nearly six million dead and twenty-three years after France's mad genius...
They Still Don't Get It. (the Media)
Although, to judge by what one reads, real levels of literacy continue to decline in America, there is one sense in which we may be said to be a hyperliterate culture. This is in the challenge taken up by an apparently ever-increasing number of...