Always Looking - John Updike

I love to read John Updike’s essays, especially those on artists, which were collected in two volumes, Just Looking (1989) and Still Looking (2005). The posthumous companion, Always Looking: Essays on Art (Knopf, $45), leads off with Updike’s Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, delivered in 2008 in Washington. I was lucky to be in the audience at the Warner Theater for this slide-talk entitled “The Clarity of Things” which connected the “American-ness” in paintings by John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins, among others. The lecture, like Updike’s essays, was full of close observation and an obvious love of his subjects. Always Looking continues with fourteen other pieces on such topics as the monotypes of Degas, the landscapes of Frederick Edwin Church, the patterned interiors of Vuillard, Miró’s graffiti, and the pop worlds of Lichtenstein and Oldenburg. It’s great art and great Updike.
Always Looking: Essays on Art By John Updike, Christopher Carduff (Editor) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307957306
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - November 27th, 2012

Glittering Images - Camille Paglia

Take a long, close look at a masterpiece. As important as the details of subject and technique is the focused, attentive act of looking itself. This is part of the passionate and well reasoned defense of the visual arts offered by Camille Paglia, humanities professor at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in Glittering Images (Pantheon, $30). Increasingly in danger of being lost amid the distracting digital clutter, the arts are also being cut from school curricula and have been demonized by the right, narrowed by the left. Paglia’s response is to revitalize art history with an eloquent tour of twenty-nine works, from ancient Egyptian tomb paintings to Renaissance sculptures to contemporary installations and films. Her brief essays describe periods and styles and how they’ve accomplished the diverse work art has done for some 5,000 years, which includes carrying on traditions, solidifying faith, celebrating historical events, and delighting by “the sorcery of beauty.” And art’s role now? Paglia declares the avant-garde agenda over; today, “we’re looking for meaning, not subverting it.”

Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars By Camille Paglia Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375424601
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon - October 16th, 2012

Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars By Camille Paglia Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307278029
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage - August 13th, 2013

Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe - Lisa Mintz Messinger

The Steins were not the only ones with an eye for modern art. The photographer Alfred Stieglitz, after hearing Leo Stein lecture on Picasso, showed the artist’s work in America. In Stieglitz and His Artists (Yale Univ., $65), Lisa Mintz Messinger presents work by European and American artists whose talent Stieglitz was among the first on this side of the Atlantic to recognize; he showed them in his Gallery 291 and publicized them in his short-lived magazine, Camera Work. Messinger’s catalog pairs paintings with portraits of the artists, and accompanying text describes their relationships with Stieglitz.

Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe By Lisa Mintz Messinger (Editor) Cover Image
By Lisa Mintz Messinger (Editor)
ISBN: 9780300175882
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Metropolitan Museum of Art - November 29th, 2011