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Balls in Aquaria

Thomas Crow: Joseph Rykwert

23 October 2008
The Judicious Eye: Architecture against the Other Arts 
by Joseph Rykwert.
Reaktion, 496 pp., £29.95, June 2008, 978 1 86189 358 1
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... be the sole artist represented on the walls of a college chapel in Houston. The de Menils had already entrusted the design of the chapel to Johnson as part of his master plan for the University of St Thomas. The original design featured a square-plan lower storey surmounted by a tall pyramid, which provided a narrow tunnel for light to reach the ground floor. That design clashed with Rothko’s vision ...

A Republic of Taste

Thomas Crow

19 March 1987
The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt: ‘The Body of the Public’ 
by John Barrell.
Yale, 366 pp., £16.95, October 1986, 0 300 03720 1
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... We inhabit at present a culture that assigns absolute priority to the simple existence of an art object over anything we might find to think or say about it. The latest overnight phenomenon in the galleries of New York enjoys an automatic claim to attention that the most seasoned critic will never possess. The history of art as an academic discipline is by and large aligned with this hierarchy of value ...

Oppositional

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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... From one point of view, ThomasCrow’s remarkable pair of books, Painters and Public Life in 18th-Century Paris (1985) and Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France (1995), can be described as a history of the decline and ...

Sans Sunflowers

David Solkin

7 July 1994
Nineteenth-Century Art: A Critical History 
by Stephen Eisenman, Thomas Crow, Brian Lukacher, Linda Nochlin and Frances Pohl.
Thames and Hudson, 376 pp., £35, March 1994, 0 500 23675 5
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... different kind of story, and to deploy a Marxist analysis that elsewhere insists on the inseparability of form and content. Pohl’s approach stands in particularly dramatic contrast to that taken by ThomasCrow, in the opening two-chapter survey of French painting from David to Delacroix. To a much greater extent than any of his collaborators, Crow demands that we look closely and anew at a sequence of ...

At the Hayward

Hal Foster: ‘The Painting of Modern Life’

1 November 2007
... Baudelaire and company, modernity was a great fiction to celebrate, it was also a terrific myth to interrogate – and how much more so is it for us today. As art historians such as T.J. Clark and ThomasCrow have helped us to see, the great painters of modern life – from Manet to Hamilton – are also its great dialecticians; they are able to celebrate and interrogate it by turns. Hamilton uses ...

Going Against

Frank Kermode: Is There a Late Style?

5 October 2006
On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain 
by Edward Said.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £16.99, April 2006, 9780747583653
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Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work 
edited by Karen Painter and Thomas Crow.
Getty, 235 pp., $40, August 2006, 0 89236 813 6
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... or palliative scheme’, which makes it sound more like King Lear. The rest of the book is about Jean Genet, Lampedusa (and also Visconti’s film of The Leopard), Britten’s Death in Venice (and Thomas Mann’s novella): all cases in which it is easy enough for interpreters to discover or insert some version of lateness. There is nothing mechanical or obvious about these studies, which buzz with ...

What’s the problem with critical art?

Hal Foster: Rancière’s Aesthetics

9 October 2013
Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art 
by Jacques Rancière, translated by Zakir Paul.
Verso, 272 pp., £20, June 2013, 978 1 78168 089 6
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... to the aesthetic is also familiar: the undoing of the hierarchy of subjects and genres is conventionally regarded as the foundational act of the 19th-century avant-garde, and art historians like ThomasCrow alerted us long ago to the turn to common culture in elite art of the 18th century. That Rancière brings together the imperatives of purity and worldliness might be an advance in aesthetic ...

The Medium is the Market

Hal Foster: Business Art

9 October 2008
... growth of an international bourgeoisie that emerged in the boom years of the 1960s with surplus capital to expend, some of it on art, particularly American Pop, that brand which, as the art historian ThomasCrow recently put it in Artforum, ‘looked like products being sold like products’. The network of commercial galleries expanded greatly at that time, as did the influence of dealers and ...

Crow

Peter Campbell

5 January 1989
The Letter of Marque 
by Patrick O’Brian.
Collins, 284 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 9780241125434
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Klara 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 347 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 241 12527 8
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From Rockaway 
by Jill Eisenstadt.
Penguin, 214 pp., £3.99, September 1988, 0 14 010347 3
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The High Road 
by Edna O’Brien.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £10.95, October 1988, 0 297 79493 0
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Loving and Giving 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 226 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 223 98346 2
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Tracks 
by Louise Erdrich.
Hamish Hamilton, 226 pp., £11.95, October 1988, 9780241125434
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... more straightforward ability to use smart writing to make a teen plot seem a true account of the place she grew up in. Patrick O’Brian’s stories of Napoleonic sea war have a vivacity which Hugh Thomas’s more fitfully imaginative book lacks, but both have virtues which come directly from the fact that the substantial historical scaffolds which they have erected give their players room to move ...

Fox and Crow

David Craig: The Moors

30 July 2014
The Moor: Lives, Landscape, Literature 
by William Atkins.
Faber, 371 pp., £18.99, May 2014, 978 0 571 29004 8
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... pudenda’; in 1775 Dr Johnson was ‘astonished and repelled’ by their ‘wide extent of hopeless sterility’ (though he at least had the hardihood to go and see them for himself); in 1826 Noel Thomas Carrington accused them of ‘shaming the map of England’ with their barrenness. Such was the outsider’s or townsperson’s notion of the moors, expanded to a visionary plane by Shakespeare in ...

Weasel, Magpie, Crow

Mark Ford: Edward Thomas

1 January 2009
Edward ThomasThe Annotated Collected Poems 
edited by Edna Longley.
Bloodaxe, 335 pp., £12, June 2008, 978 1 85224 746 1
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... Prends l’éloquence et tords-lui son cou!’ Verlaine resonantly, and eloquently, declared in his ‘Art poétique’ of 1874. The line must have lodged in Edward Thomas’s mind: in May 1914, some six months before his late efflorescence into verse at the age of 36, he wrote to Robert Frost of his longing to ‘wring all the necks of my rhetoric – the geese’. He ...

AmeriKKKa

Thomas​ Sugrue: Civil Rights v. Black Power

5 October 2006
Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice 
by Raymond Arsenault.
Oxford, 690 pp., £19.99, March 2006, 0 19 513674 8
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... of redemptive suffering and even martyrdom, as activists sacrificed their bodies to save the soul of America. The classic narrative begins with the court battles and grassroots protests against Jim Crow. By the end of the 19th century, the Southern states had implemented a system of nearly complete racial separation in the public sphere. Blacks and whites attended segregated schools. On streetcars ...
4 December 1986
... up the Nile, on the Hecate, they spent Christmas Day eating boiled eggs and plum pudding, and playing cards for the captain’s soul. The temples at Luxor stood under a full moon, lightly boiled. Sir Thomas got off to try and bag a crocodile. The route up from Marseille went as the crow flies – precipitately, a dash from ear to ear. A fellow-traveller let him play with his collar and tie, until he ...

Nude Horses

Jerrold Seigel

3 April 1997
The Plight of Emulation: Ernest Meissonier and French Salon Painting 
by Marc Gotlieb.
Princeton, 264 pp., £33.50, May 1996, 0 691 04374 4
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... Gautier finessed the problem of whether communal projects were dictatorial or democratic, whereas Baudelaire had no hesitation in calling for the individualism of the few over that of the many. As ThomasCrow has recently shown, all kinds of reciprocal rivalries and tensions could contaminate the relations between master artist and disciples: thinking that 19th-century artists looked to such ...

Half-Fox

Seamus Perry: Ted Hughes

29 August 2013
Poet and Critic: The Letters of Ted Hughes and Keith Sagar 
edited by Keith Sagar.
British Library, 340 pp., £25, May 2013, 978 0 7123 5862 0
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Ted and I: A Brother’s Memoir 
by Gerald Hughes.
Robson, 240 pp., £16.99, October 2012, 978 1 84954 389 7
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... Among the many delights to be found in Roger Lonsdale’s New Oxford Book of 18th-Century Verse is a squib by Thomas Holcroft, provoked by some disparaging remarks Voltaire made about Shakespeare. In fact, Voltaire was perfectly ready to concede that Shakespeare was possessed of real genius, though of a rough and ...

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