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Long Spells of Looking

Peter Campbell: Pretty Rothko

17 September 1998
Mark Rothko 
edited by Jeffrey Weiss.
Yale/National Gallery of Art, Washington, 352 pp., £40, April 1998, 0 300 07505 7
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Mark Rothko: The Works on Canvas 
by David Anfam.
Yale/National Gallery of Art, Washington, 708 pp., £75, August 1998, 0 300 07489 1
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... was written about a little, but no canvas he had completed so far would be recognised as a Rothko by anyone who only knows what he painted in the Fifties. His work was a bit surrealist (an echo of MaxErnst here and there), sometimes almost social realist – for example, in a subway painting more flat and decorative than Hopper’s, but with the same taste for the look of the ordinary urban scene ...

Chaotic to the Core

James Davidson

6 June 1996
by Petronius, translated by Bracht Branham and Daniel Kinney.
Dent, 185 pp., £18.95, March 1996, 0 460 87766 6
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The Satyricon 
by Petronius and P.G. Walsh.
Oxford, 212 pp., £30, March 1996, 0 19 815012 1
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... knew one thing about it for certain: it was strange. Fellini Satyricon in fact was two kinds of strange. First, there was the Surrealist view of a primitive Ancient World already well explored by MaxErnst, Martha Graham and Pasolini: bizarre buildings, tribal costumes, blank walls, labyrinths, minotaurs (‘Who are you? Who are you? Tell me who you are’) – all the discontinuity of a dream ...
16 August 1990
Sir Huge: The Life of Huw Wheldon 
by Paul Ferris.
Joseph, 307 pp., £18.99, June 1990, 0 7181 3464 8
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... shade of pink. At the same time, as I went on to say, he was on any evidence the most gifted editor in television. He hunted down giants for Monitor – Henry Moore, Sir Thomas Beecham, E.M. Forster, MaxErnst, Robert Graves. He had the fine, if expensive idea of filming the artist or administrator in a setting germane to his or her work. They went to Athens to profile Katina Paxinou, to the ...


Rosemary Hill

2 December 1993
Karl Friedrich Schinkel: ‘The English Journey’ 
edited by David Bindman and Gottfried Riemann, translated by F. Gagna Walls.
Yale, 220 pp., £35, July 1993, 0 300 04117 9
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The Modernist Garden in France 
by Dorothée Imbert.
Yale, 268 pp., £40, August 1993, 0 300 04716 9
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... and dénaturé lurked in the Modernist garden it is noticeable that many of the most successful schemes discussed in the book could more accurately be described as surrealist. The patrons of MaxErnst and Buñuel, the de Noailles, commissioned a terrace from Robert Mallet-Stevens with rectangular windows in the surrounding wall framing ‘scenes’ in the landscape. These look the Picturesque ...


Patrick Parrinder

6 December 1990
by Jose Donoso, translated by Alfred MacAdam.
Picador, 310 pp., £13.95, October 1990, 0 330 31157 3
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War Fever 
by J.G. Ballard.
Collins, 176 pp., £12.95, November 1990, 0 00 223770 9
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Great Climate 
by Michael Wilding.
Faber, 147 pp., £12.99, November 1990, 0 571 14428 4
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Honour Thy Father 
by Lesley Glaister.
Secker, 182 pp., £13.99, September 1990, 9780436199981
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... Cape Canaveral haunted by redundant ex-astronauts, the silted-up beach hotels and vintage flying-machines, the slowing-down of time and the imminence of entropic decay, the landscapes from Tanguy or MaxErnst – all these things, purporting to speak to us of future history, can more plausibly be viewed as Ballard’s version of the myth of the Fall. Ballard celebrated his 60th birthday this year ...

Rain, Blow, Rustle

Nick Richardson: John Cage

19 August 2010
No Such Thing As Silence: John Cage’s 4'33" 
by Kyle Gann.
Yale, 255 pp., £16.99, April 2010, 978 0 300 13699 9
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... sound in the theatre, dance, drama and the film; group improvisation; creative musical expression; rehearsal and performance of experimental music.’ Among those impressed by Cage in Chicago was MaxErnst, who arranged for his wife, Peggy Guggenheim, to celebrate the opening of her new gallery in New York with a concert of Cage’s percussion music. So John and Xenia upped sticks yet again ...

Men’s Work

Adam Kuper: Lévi-Strauss

24 June 2004
Claude Lévi-Strauss: The Formative Years 
by Christopher Johnson.
Cambridge, 208 pp., £40, February 2003, 0 521 01667 3
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... de New York along with the philosophers Alexandre Koyré and Jacques Maritain, Lévi-Strauss regularly went foraging for African and Native American art in the city’s antique shops with Breton, MaxErnst and Duchamp. After the war, the local variants of phenomenology and Marxism became international cults. Structuralism, which understood culture according to a linguistic model, as a system of ...


Mary Ann Caws: Dadaglobe Reconstructed

7 September 2016
... Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour and his Bride, both shown here along with the originals. Many of the works here are early versions of later and more famous pieces: MaxErnst’s collage The Chinese Nightingale, with the hands uplifted to the single eye underneath the fan, makes us think of the raised arm in his Celebes of 1921 in the Tate, and of the threatening ...

Robbing banks

George Melly

25 June 1992
by David Sylvester.
Thames and Hudson, 352 pp., £45, May 1992, 0 500 09227 3
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by Sarah Whitfield.
South Bank Centre, 322 pp., £18.95, May 1992, 1 85332 087 0
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... poor, less warm, less happy with himself. In some sense, Mariën was right: all talented Surrealist painters (the poets were not at risk) faced the danger of drowning in money To win was to fail. Ernst, Miro and Magritte himself were all eventually dispossessed. Mariën continued the attack after Magritte’s death. His autobiography, published in 1983, maintained that during their friendship ...
19 February 1987
Georg Lukacs: Selected Correspondence 1902-1920 
translated by Judith Marcus and Zoltan Tar.
Columbia, 318 pp., $25, September 1986, 9780231059688
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... significance. Lukacs’s circle of correspondents included some of the most gifted figures in Hungarian and German intellectual life: Karl Polanyi, Oscar Jasci, Emil Lask and Karl Mannheim; Ernst Bloch, Martin Buber, Georg Simmel, Ernst Troeltsch, Karl Jaspers, Max Weber, Paul Ernst and Thomas Mann. By interweaving, in chronological sequence, letters written by Lukacs with letters he received ...
31 July 1997
Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell 
by Deborah Solomon.
Cape, 426 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 224 04242 4
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... that the meals Joseph made for Robert ‘always consisted of the most incredible colours ... He used to squeeze violets on top of mushroom soup to make it lilac-coloured.’ If he had not seen some MaxErnst collages on his wanderings about Manhattan and decided to cut up his collected photostats on the kitchen table, Cornell might have been known only to Utopia locals. Although he left traces of ...


Eric Hobsbawm: Memories of Weimar

24 January 2008
... the basic achievements of the Weimar Republic and the reasons non-Germans take an interest in it are not political but intellectual and cultural. The word today suggests the Bauhaus, George Grosz, Max Beckmann, Walter Benjamin, the great photographer August Sander and a number of remarkable movies. Weitz picks out six names: Thomas Mann, Brecht, Kurt Weill, Heidegger and the less familiar theorist ...


Daniel Kevles

17 August 1989
Thinking about science: Max​ Delbrück and the Origins of Molecular Biology 
by Ernst​ Peter Fischer and Carol Lipson.
Norton, 334 pp., £13.95, January 1989, 9780393025088
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Is science necessary? Essays on Science and Scientists 
by M.F. Perutz.
Barrie and Jenkins, 285 pp., £14.95, July 1989, 0 7126 2123 7
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... Charles Darwin – despite his protestations to the contrary – had strong theoretical inclinations, but he constantly tested and modified his ideas against an enormous array of observational data. Max Perutz, who was for many years the director of the Medical Research Council Unit for Molecular Biology at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, had a front-row seat during many innings of molecular ...

Naughty Children

Christopher Turner: Freud’s Free Clinics

6 October 2005
Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice 1918-38 
by Elizabeth Ann Danto.
Columbia, 348 pp., £19.50, May 2005, 0 231 13180 1
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... to a better postwar world, Freud hoped that one day these charitable clinics would be state funded – ‘the neuroses,’ he insisted, ‘threaten public health no less than tuberculosis.’ Max Eitingon, the psychoanalyst who funded the first of these clinics, later wrote that Freud had spoken ‘half as prophecy and half as challenge’. We don’t think of Freud as a militant social ...

Brooke’s Benefit

Anthony Powell

16 April 1981
... Brooke calls him, who died at the age of 33), some technical writing on botany (though Brooke always insisted he was only an amateur among real botanists), and a surrealist collage in the manner of MaxErnst. In various thumbnail sketches of himself taken from different angles during early London life, Brooke sardonically presents a typical young intellectual of the period, toying rather ...

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