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Gorgon in Furs

D.D. Guttenplan: Paula Fox, 12 December 2002

Borrowed Finery: A Memoir 
by Paula Fox.
Flamingo, 256 pp., £12, August 2002, 0 00 713724 9
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... Fox never discusses her second marriage, which also produced children, or her current husband, Martin Greenberg, a former editor of Commentary and brother of Clement Greenberg. And while the later pages of the book are sprinkled with famous names – John Barrymore, Burl Ives and Frank Sinatra all have walk-on parts ...

Into the Alley

Daniel Soar: Dashiell Hammett, 3 January 2002

Nightmare Town: Stories 
by Dashiell Hammett, edited by Kirby McCauley and Martin Greenberg et al.
Picador, 396 pp., £16.99, March 2001, 0 330 48109 6
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Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett 1921-60 
edited by Richard Layman and Julie Rivett.
Counterpoint, 650 pp., £28.99, June 2001, 1 58243 081 0
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... A blank page is frightening. Something has to be written, but how do you choose the words? Why this word and not that? How to overcome the arbitrariness of writing? One way is to trick yourself, to pretend that what you’re about to write has already been written, that someone has been there already and that you’re only following his traces, trying to reconstruct what must have happened ...

Bounce off a snap

Hal Foster: Yve-Alain Bois’s Reflections, 30 March 2023

An Oblique Autobiography 
by Yve-Alain Bois, edited by Jordan Kantor.
No Place, 375 pp., £15.99, December 2022, 978 1 949484 08 3
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... historian.’ Bois later returned the favour when he asked Derrida to turn his notes concerning Martin Heidegger on Van Gogh into an article that Bois published in Macula, the journal he launched with Jean Clay in 1976. An Oblique Autobiography includes a stirring eulogy for Derrida, who died in 2004, and a scathing rebuttal of the insipid obituary ...

The Grin without the Cat

David Sylvester: Jackson Pollock at the Tate, 1 April 1999

Jackson Pollock 
by Kirk Varnedoe and Pepe Karmel.
Tate Gallery, 336 pp., £50, March 1999, 1 85437 275 0
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Interpreting Pollock 
by Jeremy Lewison.
Tate Gallery, 84 pp., £9.99, March 1999, 1 85437 289 0
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... issue of Tate magazine (where they are juxtaposed with One, inadvertently printed upside-down). Martin Maloney says: ‘He put himself in his painting through his inventive gesture. It’s funny how we visualise his making method when looking at a work, which we don’t do with any other artist.’ And Julian Schnabel says: ‘Looking at Pollock’s ...

Thatcher’s Artists

Peter Wollen, 30 October 1997

Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection 
by Norman Rosenthal.
Thames and Hudson, 222 pp., £29.95, September 1997, 0 500 23752 2
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... of, more as contributors to a loose art ‘scene’ with a complex pattern of interaction. Then Martin Maloney gives an insider view, writing as a painter whose own work is represented in the show, as well as a prolific art journalist (Art Forum, Flash Art etc). Brooks Adams is an American an journalist based in New York, who follows up with an outsider’s ...

What’s It All About?

Tom Lubbock, 6 April 1995

Shark-Infested Waters: The Saatchi Collection of British Art in the Nineties 
by Sarah Kent.
Zwemmer, 270 pp., £19.95, November 1994, 0 302 00648 6
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The Reviews that Caused the Rumpus, and Other Pieces 
by Brian Sewell.
Bloomsbury, 365 pp., £12.99, November 1994, 0 7475 1872 6
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... an actual dispute about contemporary art was staged at the Tate – defending, Michael Craig-Martin, leading light at Goldsmiths’ College; prosecuting, Hilton Kramer, editor of the New Criterion (it’s telling that there was no obvious British champion on this side). It was made a condition that the speakers should not address each other. Afterwards I ...

Steaming Torsos

J. Hoberman, 6 February 1997

Westerns: Making the Man in Fiction and Film 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Chicago, 352 pp., £23.95, November 1996, 0 226 53234 8
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... King Vidor and Sam Peckinpah.) Is it really the Western that is the paradigm of kitsch in Clement Greenberg’s famous 1939 essay? (I always assumed that the Trotskyite and Modernist Greenberg was attacking Stalin’s Socialist Realism.) Mitchell asserts that ‘viewers and readers of the Western lacked (still lack) a ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... Upper West Side or Greenwich Village where Dwight Macdonald, Alfred Kazin, Philip Rahv, Clement Greenberg and a supporting cast of kibitzers engaged in rhetorical (and, in Greenberg’s case, actual) fisticuffs. Like many men of ideas with impossibly high standards of intellectual probity, they could also be snarly little ...

A Hard Dog to Keep on the Porch

Christopher Hitchens, 6 June 1996

... about Clinton are always the same joke. ‘When he comes to a fork in the road,’ writes Paul Greenberg of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, ‘he takes it.’ He wants to have his dozen Big Macs and eat them too. And so forth. (I myself have contributed a one-liner: ‘Why did Bill Clinton cross the road? Because he wanted to get to the middle.’) In ...

Enemies For Ever

James Wolcott: ‘Making It’, 18 May 2017

Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... of bourgeois hipsterville surrounded by local landmarks from Lena Dunham’s Girls, enlightened by Martin Amis sightings. Back then, baby, Brooklyn was badass and more than a trifle déclassé. To come from Brooklyn – ‘I was fiercely patriotic about Brownsville (the spawning ground of so many famous athletes and gangsters)’ – meant that you had ...

Open in a Scream

Colm Tóibín, 4 March 2021

Francis Bacon: Revelations 
by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan.
William Collins, 869 pp., £30, January, 978 0 00 729841 9
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... looks immediate.’Neither of the tutelary spirits of the Abstract Expressionist movement, Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg, had any interest in Bacon, and the lack of interest went both ways. When the Whitechapel Gallery put on a Jackson Pollock show in 1959 and the Tate staged its New American Painting a few months later, Bacon was curious only to meet ...

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