It operates as a refuge for a civilizing element in short supply in contemporary America: honest criticism
On "Dreams of Nature: Symbolism from Van Gogh to Kandinsky” at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
was right!Support The
Dreams of Nature” surveys the symbolist movement as expressed in landscape painting across Europe from Mallorca to western Russia, and is likely the first exhibition ever to do so. The exhibition, organized by Richard Thomson and Rodolphe Rapetti, contains seventy canvases, with some implausible choices among them depending on where one might draw the line regarding what qualifies as Symbolist.
That turns out to be a complicated consideration. Jean Moréas, writing his Symbolist Manifesto in 1886, described it thus: “Enemy of education, declamation, wrong feelings, objective description, symbolist poetry tries to dress the Idea in a sensitive form which, however, would not be its sole purpose, but furthermore that, while serving to express the Idea in itself, would remain subjective.” The subjectivity was key. Symbolism was above all a defiance of literary naturalism, but there was an equivalent in visu ...
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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 30 June 2012, on page 51
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Review of "Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
On "Johann Zoffany RA: Society Observed” at the Yale Center for British Art.
On "Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey" at the Boston Athenæum.
by Karen Wilkin
On “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937” at the Neue Galerie, New York.
The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
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