I recently started watching the Bravo show “Work of Art”—not that I needed much of an excuse—after reading some of Jerry Saltz’s New York Magazine recaps. What was an art critic, whose very currency is taste, doing in the wilds of reality TV?
That competitive art-making should land on television was probably just a matter of time. [...]
The Art of Cruelty, I had to assure many people as I was toting it around, is not a handbook; the “art” of the title is literal. Maggie Nelson’s interest is in aesthetic cruelty, specifically how art forces us to confront and negotiate the indignities, violent and otherwise, that people inflict on one another, and [...]
Another trip to New York, another visit to the Neue Galerie. I first encountered Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, the subject of the Neue Galerie’s current show, when the Met acquired “A Hypocrite and a Slanderer,” one of his “character heads,” earlier this year. When not on loan to the Neue, “A Hypocrite and a Slanderer” stands [...]
The first image I faced at the Neue Galerie’s Otto Dix show was a wan, watercolor portrait of a man with a half-maimed face. I recoiled before turning back to study it more closely. Dix’s work often does not reward extended viewing—the longer you stare, the more horror emerges. In this case, I found myself [...]
Perhaps it’s the heat, or a more general summer lassitude, or the fact that the fat Hungarian novel I’m reading keeps breaking down into unidentified sub-narratives that I can only sort of follow, but my attention span of late has favored the short. The highlight of the New Yorker backlog that piled up while I [...]