In yesterday's Newsday, I spoke with Jed Perl about the Hegelian dialectic, the "unspeakably awful" machinery of the contemporary art scene, and the genesis of New Art City
Writing criticism for a magazine or newspaper is akin to running the 50-yard dash: a short, intense burst of effort, with a final scramble toward the finish line. Nobody knows this better than Jed Perl, who has spent more than a decade covering art for The New Republic. Yet Perl, a tall man with a thatch of gray hair and a deep, quizzical voice, is equally adept at the marathon. Proof positive would be the publication of New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century, a dense and dizzying panorama of the New York art world in the years after World War II.
You can read the rest here
. And for a somewhat more sweet-and-sour evaluation of Perl's book, check out Arthur Danto's review
in Bookforum. He calls New Art City
a "delicious Baedeker," but faults the author for shortchanging all things Duchampian, including the Pop explosion that supplanted Perl's beloved Silver Age: "The age of Pop has no Hesiodic counterpart for Perl: Metallurgy knows no metal base enough to emblematize the degradation of art that took place under its auspices in the '60s." Whether you find this hyberbole amusing (I did) or accurate (not quite) will depend on your enthusiasm for Duchamp and his artistic progeny, who turned W.C. Williams's credo on its head--no things but in ideas.