Art's prospect : the challenge of tradition in an age of by Roger Kimball

By Roger Kimball

Looking at our modern tradition, the celebrated critic Roger Kimball sees that the avant-garde attack on culture has lengthy seeing that degenerated right into a sclerotic orthodoxy. He reveals that the "cutting edge," as outlined via the verified tastemakers, seems again and again to be a stale rest of earlier impotence. And he locates a pretense that the conventional is the enemy instead of a springboard to originality. In Art's Prospect, Mr. Kimball observes that almost all of the relatively invigorating motion within the paintings global this day is a quiet affair. It happens no longer on the Tate smooth in London or on the Museum of contemporary paintings in manhattan, now not within the Chelsea or TriBeCa galleries yet off to 1 aspect, out of the limelight. it always includes no longer the most recent factor yet everlasting things―they should be new or outdated, yet their relevance is measured now not by way of the excitement they bring about yet by means of silences they encourage. With studies and essays composed during the last two decades and revised for this publication, Art's Prospect illuminates the various leader non secular itineraries of contemporary artwork. It presents, in Mr. Kimball's phrases, "a university whose parts, while visible from one viewpoint, upload as much as a analysis of a illness, and, whilst visible from one other standpoint, provide tricks of the place potent treatments may be found."

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Extraordinary coincidences, to say the least. One of the most disagreeable features of the effort to destroy the Barnes Foundation has been a campaign of character assassination directed at its founder. This, too, has a long history. Barnes made many enemies. He was aggressive, impatient, and could be overbearing to the point of brutality. He harbored a particular dislike for the academic art-establishment, which he regarded as effete, snobbish, and essentially uninterested in the vital aesthetic core of art.

Fénéon continued to play an important role in the cultural life of Paris after his trial in 1895. For the next decade, he was ensconced at the Revue blanche, one of the most important avant-garde literary magazines of the time. And while he never abandoned his radical principles, Fénéon blithely became a dealer at Bernheim Jeune, where he did very well for himself representing such artists as Matisse, Signac, and Bonnard. Fénéon lived on, amazingly, until 1944. But his great moment came in the mid-1880s when for a few short seasons he became Seurat’s ideal critic and champion.

F. (as he was known among friends) oversaw the publication of Rimbaud’s Les Illuminations and translations of writers as diverse as Dostoevsky, Keats, and Walt Whitman. He was a close friend of many important writers and poets, including Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Valéry. Paul Signac and Edouard Vuillard, among others, painted his portrait. Toulouse-Lautrec produced an amusing caricature. Pissarro was something of a confidante. Georges Seurat (who managed only a quick crayon sketch of the critic) was essentially discovered and put on the critical map by Fénéon.

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