Email this review


What are the specific characteristics of the New York vanguard painter? How does he react to questions of alienation, social integration? What is the role of museums and dealers? How influential are the critics? These seemingly tabloid-type questions are fruitfully explored in a very incisive and provocative volume. It succeeds less through the authors' somewhat turgid prose (sociological smog floats through the pages, e.g. ""generational separation and generational nucleation""), than through the forthright answers of the twenty-nine noted (but unidentified) artists who were interviewed. ""Five of the twenty-nine were primarily sculptors (including two who specialized in junk), five were more or less realistic painters, and the rest were abstract expressionists."" The chapters concerned with psychological motivations and sexuality and sublimation are particularly worthwhile; there the artists focus on themselves keenly and with surprising depth. In addition, the theories of Freud, Kris and Eissler are interestingly examined. However, the volume's real excitement lies elsewhere, for in dealing with the culture explosion which has placed painting on the stock market, the artists make no bones about the fact that phoniness in all its ramifications is now rampant. The artist-as-operator (Pop Art youth etc.) is deplored. If only names were mentioned!

Publisher: Quadrangle