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The Tunnel

Michael Fried: A Poem

6 February 2003
...  ...


John Barrell

2 April 1981
Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot 
by Michael Fried.
California, 249 pp., £16.50, February 1981, 0 520 03758 8
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... the painting, which becomes the more real precisely because it has apparently not been painted to be observed, but simply is, independent of the observer. The art of the Salons of the 1750s, argues MichaelFried, is much preoccupied by such images of absorption, a preoccupation which was registered and admired by contemporary critics: but the very fact that it was thus registered made the problem of ...


Paul Grimstad: Flaubert’s ‘Gueuloir’

23 January 2014
Flaubert’s ‘Gueuloir’: On ‘Madame Bovary’ and ‘Salammbô’ 
by Michael Fried.
Yale, 184 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 0 300 18705 2
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... at the top of his lungs until he felt it had been condensed to its sonic core. During one particularly savage gueulade he told the Goncourt brothers he felt he was going to spit blood. But why then, MichaelFried asks, is Madame Bovary positively teeming with assonances, alliterations and repetitions? How is it that after the acid bath of the gueuloir the novel is ‘shot through with precisely the ...


Barry Schwabsky: Who is Menzel?

17 April 2003
Menzel’s Realism: Art and Embodiment in 19th-Century Berlin 
by Michael Fried.
Yale, 313 pp., £35, September 2002, 0 300 09219 9
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... MichaelFried, who is also a poet, has a dense, self-questioning, fervent prose style. Somewhat perversely he has, over the last three decades – that is, since his doctoral dissertation on Manet was printed as a ...

Ravishing Atrocities

Patrick Maynard

7 January 1988
Realism, Writing, Disfiguration: On Thomas Eakins and Stephen Crane 
by Michael Fried.
Chicago, 215 pp., £23.95, April 1987, 0 226 26210 3
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Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology 
by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Chicago, 226 pp., £7.25, October 1987, 0 226 53229 1
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... focus and field, and how the result is edited – these are factors not entirely dictated by the events themselves, and all these variables may be controlled for effect. There can be art in this, and MichaelFried argues that within Western painting there is a special tradition of realism, stemming at least from Caravaggio (who, he reminds us, painted a Medusa). In such pictures it is not that a shocking ...

Make Something Happen!

Julian Bell: Paint Serious, Paint Big

2 December 2010
Salvator Rosa: Bandits, Wilderness and Magic 
by Helen Langdon, Xavier Salomon and Caterina Volpi.
Paul Holberton, 240 pp., £40, September 2010, 978 1 907372 01 8
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Painting for Profit: The Economic Lives of 17th-Century Italian Painters 
by Richard Spear and Philip Sohm et al.
Yale, 384 pp., £45, 0 300 15456 9
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Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane 
by Andrew Graham-Dixon.
Allen Lane, 514 pp., £30, July 2010, 978 0 7139 9674 6
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The Moment of Caravaggio 
by Michael Fried.
Princeton, 304 pp., £34.95, 0 691 14701 9
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... Economic Lives of 17th-Century Italian Painters, which explores what new co-ordinates one current academic strategy has to deliver; while two treatments of Caravaggio, by Andrew Graham-Dixon and by MichaelFried, come at that painter’s place in history from wildly disparate angles. Spear, Sohm and their five coauthors investigate five 17th-century urban art worlds. Those of Florence and Venice are so ...

I want to be her clothes

Kevin Kopelson: Kate Moss

20 December 2012
Kate: The Kate Moss Book 
by Kate Moss, edited by Fabien Baron, Jess Hallett and Jefferson Hack.
Rizzoli, 368 pp., £50, November 2012, 978 0 8478 3790 8
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... but also by Moss, in her guise as a ‘method’ actress showing the camera what may or may not be her own character. (She says it’s not, in Kate.) To quote the American (and gay) literary critic Michael Snediker, talking about the photograph of Moss, taken by Richard Avedon, to which he is ‘most attached’: ‘I like that she aestheticises noli me tangere. It’s not that she seems to be in a ...

At Dia:Beacon

Hal Foster: Fetishistic Minimalist

5 June 2003
... who is as much an architect of the Dia aesthetic – a Modernist transparency of structure rendered with a Minimalist sensitivity to space – as any of the artists. In 1994 Wright made way for Michael Govan, a protégé of Thomas Krens, the director of the Guggenheim Museum. By this time, Dia had acquired nearly seven hundred works, and to show this collection needed more space than the real ...

At the Royal Academy

Julian Bell: Manet

21 February 2013
... the totality. Manet was possibly quite in earnest about representation, this business that nowadays, with paintings like The Luncheon in mind, we might suppose he was setting aside in quotes. MichaelFried summarised the issue in a resounding formula: Manet’s art represents the last attempt in Western painting to achieve a full equivalent to the great realistic painting of the past … To ...


P.N. Furbank

3 August 1995
Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France 
by Thomas Crow.
Yale, 288 pp., £29.95, January 1995, 0 300 06093 9
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... errors’: for instance the perspectival and proportional awkwardness of the soldier’s position, his right foot being too near the female alms-giver’s heel – though these are features for which MichaelFried has found an unexpected justification, as being part of a scheme to unsettle the conventional relationship of viewer to canvas. According to Crow, at all events, David’s decision was to ‘go ...

The Special Motion of a Hand

T.J. Clark: Courbet and Poussin at the Met

24 April 2008
... the world begins from an actual realisation of this closeness and fulsomeness is a materialist to be reckoned with. The writer who has entered most deeply into this moment of Courbet’s imagining is MichaelFried. The material world in Courbet, Fried persuades us, is not to be thought of as something separate from the body that encounters it. Painting consists in finding a way of intimating the deep ...

Letter from Australia

Michael​ Hofmann

9 October 2008
... hang above the fat freed faces. Cyclothymia in the USA. My friend in the bonsai liberal exclave in your biodiesel flyover state, I can still register my first Zolaesque frisson of horror at the fried turnip smell of the cars that ate not Paris, but whatever you called it – I Oughta Went around It. There is no going around it ...

Top Brands Today

Nicholas Penny: The Art World

14 December 2017
The Auctioneer: A Memoir of Great Art, Legendary Collectors and Record-Breaking Auctions 
by Simon de Pury and William Stadiem.
Allen and Unwin, 312 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 1 76011 350 6
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Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers 
by Philip Hook.
Profile, 282 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 1 78125 570 4
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Donald Judd: Writings 
edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray.
David Zwirner, 1054 pp., £28, November 2016, 978 1 941701 35 5
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... in ‘A View of Modernism’, published in Artforum in September 1972. She opens with an anecdote about a Harvard student who pointed to a work by Frank Stella and asked his professor, her friend MichaelFried, ‘What’s so good about that?’ Fried replied that there are ‘days when Stella goes to the Metropolitan Museum. And he sits for hours looking at the Velázquezes, utterly knocked out by ...
8 February 1990
A New History of French Literature 
edited by Denis Hollier.
Harvard, 1280 pp., £39.95, October 1989, 0 674 61565 4
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... use of copperplate illustrations, on the calligrams and cubism of Apollinaire, on Picasso’s Guernica, on the cultural politics of André Malraux, and best of all, a brilliantly revealing chapter by MichaelFried on the spectator-centred aesthetics of Diderot in his Salons. The association of words with music is traced from the jongleurs in the 11th century through its successive manifestations as an ...

Balls and Strikes

Charles Reeve: Clement Greenberg

5 April 2007
Art Czar: The Rise and Fall of Clement Greenberg 
by Alice Goldfarb Marquis.
Lund Humphries, 321 pp., £25, April 2006, 0 85331 940 5
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... Marquis’s biography, the last two years have seen Jonathan Harris’s Writing Back to Modern Art, which challenges the assumption, shared by Greenberg, Clark, and Greenberg’s one-time protégé MichaelFried, that modern art is valuable as a defence and expression of the imagination; and Caroline Jones’s Eyesight Alone, in which she reads Greenberg against himself to show that his idea of a ...

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