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Eyewitness: Reports from an Art World in Crisisby Jed Perl
Synopses & Reviews
For those who "still crave the thrilling experience that only art can offer," New Republic art critic Jed Perl brings to this collection of twenty-six essays his uncompromising critical engagement with the contemporary art world. Perl presents bold, almost novelistic explorations of contemporary artists including Balthus, Jasper Johns, Bruce Nauman and Joan Snyder within the broader context of a lively discussion of museum and gallery goings-on.
Anointing the '90s "The Age of the Deal Makers," Perl laments the collapse of a system that once enabled artists and especially painters and sculptors to develip slowly over time. Sparing no one in his examination of the way our culture looks at art, Perl investigates how those charged with the responsibility of fostering artists' careers have deferred matters of taste and quality to the marketplace with disastrous results.
Eyewitness offers a generous survey of the last decade of museum and gallery going, paying particular attention to the cultural context in which art is made, exhibited and discussed. Perl focuses on developments at institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Getty Center in Los Angeles and shows how hype and context have conspired to eclipse tradition and content. He details the artists and exhibitions that have thrived in the current market-dominated art world, as well as the deserving work which has received far too little attention.
Eyewitness is the product of a rare critical mind. Jed Perl offers both a passionate engagement with art and a critical assessment of its social context. This book, and its stirring belief in the power of art, will inspire a new understanding of how we look at art and what that says about our culture.
"For years Jed Perl has been covering the art world with tremendous empathy and unsparing accuracy. His ability to recognize the traditional forms of art behind their continual transmutation has made his an almost solitary, essential voice." John Ashbery
"Perl's savory and audacious writing about contemporary art excites our desire to see the works themselves. That's the true purpose of art criticism. Eyewitness offers a bracing and much needed lesson in how to look long and hard at the New York art scene in the year 2000." Roger Shattuck
A provocative look at the contemporary art scene by one of the countrys leading art critics.
As art critic for The New Republic, Jed Perl is renowned for combining a passion for art and a skepticism about the current art establishment with an ability to write about art in the context of our larger culture. In this collection of essays, including two written especially for this book, he delivers a brilliant mixture of first-rate art criticism and politically informed insight into the true workings of the American art world.Perl offers incisive analysis into the marketing mentality that dominates todays museums, the poverty of academic criticism, and the changing expectations of the gallery-going public. He re-evaluates the old masters, and turns an avid, unprejudiced eye on the works of his contemporaries. He laments the collapse of a gallery culture that once allowed artists to develop slowly, and argues for a radical reassessment of the way art is presented to—and is viewed by—the public.
An art critic for "The New Republic" offers a provocative look at the contemporary art scene in a brilliant collection of essays. Illustrations.
About the Author
Jed Perl is art critic of The New Republic. He has been a contributing editor of Vogue, a columnist for Salma-gundi, and a regular contributor to The New Criterion. Widely respected as an independent voice on art and culture, he has also written for Partisan Review and The New York Times Book Review and appeared on CNN, NPR, and 147The McNeill/Lehrer Report.148 He lives in New York City.
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