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Adrenaline Junkie

Jonathan Parry: John Tyndall’s Ascent

21 March 2019
The Ascent of John Tyndall: Victorian Scientist, Mountaineer and Public Intellectual 
by Roland Jackson.
Oxford, 556 pp., £25, March 2018, 978 0 19 878895 9
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... to religious conventions (so much for Christmas). Less well known are his cavalier impracticality and his extreme nervousness – unexpected traits in one of the most intrepid Victorian mountaineers. RolandJackson doesn’t make much of the incident in his recent biography, which is immensely long and devotedly successful at unearthing the facts of Tyndall’s life from the hundred boxes of his private ...

Damsons and Custard

Paul Laity: Documentary cinema’s unsung poet

3 March 2005
Humphrey Jennings 
by Kevin Jackson.
Picador, 448 pp., £30, October 2004, 0 330 35438 8
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... English directors’. That this status isn’t more generally acknowledged is partly because Jennings died only five years after the end of the war, at the age of 43, but mostly because, as Kevin Jackson says in this engaging, adulatory biography, he ‘spent most of his professional life not in the glamorous and highly publicised world of features’, but as a jobbing documentary-maker on the ...

Our Founder

John Bayley: Papa Joyce

19 February 1998
John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father 
by John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello.
Fourth Estate, 493 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 85702 417 6
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... a good fellow, a storyteller, somebody’s secretary, something in a distillery, a taxgatherer, a bankrupt, and at present a praiser of his own past.’ No wonder that two veteran Joyceans, John Wyse Jackson of the Chelsea Press, editor of Flann O’Brien and Oscar Wilde, and the Dublin social historian Peter Costello, should have been inspired to produce a full-length biography of, so to speak, Our ...

Andy Paperbag

Hal Foster: Andy Warhol

21 March 2002
Andy Warhol 
by Wayne Koestenbaum.
Weidenfeld, 196 pp., £12.99, November 2001, 0 297 64630 3
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... and to translate images from one medium or sphere into another in order to ‘embalm’ them – though this embalming could also infuse his images with a psychic charge, an unexpected punctum, as Roland Barthes might say. Think of the two housewives in Tunafish Disaster (1963), victims of botulism taken directly from a newspaper page; smeared across the silkscreened painting, their smiling faces ...

At the Palazzo Venier

Nicholas Penny: Peggy Guggenheim’s Eye

9 May 2002
Peggy Guggenheim: The Life of an Art Addict 
by Anton Gill.
HarperCollins, 506 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 00 257078 5
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... daylit exhibition space for contemporary work – the idea of mixing the two functions was one that Read had outlined in an article of May 1939. The contemporary American art, which included work by Jackson Pollock, Rothko, Motherwell and Baziotes, was legitimised, and in some measure influenced, by the European imports that hung around the corner. What we find in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in ...

Pop Eye

Hal Foster: Handmade Readymades

22 August 2002
Image Duplicator: Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art 
by Michael Lobel.
Yale, 196 pp., £35, March 2002, 0 300 08762 4
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... The profundity endangered by the cold surfaces of this new Pop art was the pathos of Abstract Expressionist painting and its feverish gestures; mainstream critics, who had finally come around to Jackson Pollock and company, were not happy about this turn of events. In 1949 Life had showcased Pollock under the banner: ‘Is He the Greatest Living Painter in the United States?’ In 1964 the same ...

Operation Barbarella

Rick Perlstein: Hanoi Jane

17 November 2005
Jane Fonda’s War: A Political Biography of an Anti-war Icon 
by Mary Hershberger.
New Press, 228 pp., £13.99, September 2005, 1 56584 988 4
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... opposed the war by the time Nixon started running for re-election; every candidate in 1972, including the dozen or so contenders for the wide-open Democratic nomination (among them Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson, the neo-conservative hero), was promising to end it. Most citizens, even if they didn’t fully admit it to themselves, knew that America was losing. But there was something else: the nagging ...

False Moderacy

T.J. Clark: Picasso and Modern British Art

22 March 2012
Picasso and Modern British Art 
Tate Britain, 15 February 2012 to 15 July 2012Show More
Mondrian Nicholson: In Parallel 
Courtauld Gallery, 16 February 2012 to 20 May 2012Show More
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... many artists, in all parts of the globe, wished he hadn’t been there. There is a famous story of Lee Krasner hearing a book go hurtling across the studio next to hers, smashing against a wall, and Jackson Pollock emerging with the words: ‘Goddamn it! That guy has done everything. There’s nothing left.’ But the further point of the anecdote is that Pollock did find ways, eventually, to turn the ...

Cleaning Up

Tom Nairn

3 October 1996
ThePol Pot Regime: Race, Power and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79 
by Ben Kiernan.
Yale, 477 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 300 06113 7
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... kin-network or village area. Nationalism sanctifies nepotism; but also, nepotism can be in a sense exalted by a genetically-oriented or ethnic nationalism. As another South-East Asia scholar, Karl Jackson, wrote some years ago: ‘In essence the concept of collective leadership was infused into the tradition of Khmer family power ... Rivals within the Communist movement were tortured and executed in ...

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