Magazine article New Criterion

A New Low at the Times

Magazine article New Criterion

A New Low at the Times

Article excerpt

We've had several occasions to remark on the astonishing metaphysical feat of The New York Times Book Review. For as long as anyone can remember, it has been an embarrassment, as bad as it was possible for such a mainstream paper to be, and yet--how do they do it?--it always manages to surprise by being just a little worse this week than last. A couple of months ago, the Review treated readers to a feature about the size of black genitalia. In its issue for December II, there appears an immensely long essay on contemporary art criticism called "State of the Art." We do not know who put Barry Gewen, an editor at the Book Review, up to the task. Perhaps he lost some bet with the editor and this was his punishment. Mr. Gewen has never before betrayed any public interest in art or art criticism--he certainly betrayed no knowledge of the subject in this essay. To call it confused would be a calumny on confusion; to say that it was a hash of half-understood liberal cliches would be unfair to the institution of the cliche. …

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