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The New Criterion

It operates as a refuge for a civilizing element in short supply in contemporary America: honest criticism
- The Wall Street Journal


Hilton Kramer

Hilton Kramer

Hilton Kramer (1928-2012) was the founding editor of The New Criterion, which he started with the late Samuel Lipman in 1982. From 1987 until 2006, he was also the art critic for the weekly New York Observer, and for many years wrote the "Critic’s Notebook" column in Art & Antiques magazine. His "Media Watch" column was published weekly in The New York Post from 1993 to November 1997.


Mr. Kramer was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1928. He studied at Syracuse University (B.A., 1950), and in the graduate schools of Columbia University, Harvard University, Indiana University (School of Letters), and the New School for Social Research. He has served on the faculties of Indiana University, Bennington College, the University of Colorado, and Yale University. He has lectured widely at museums and universities in this country and abroad. He began publishing literary criticism in 1950, art criticism in 1953.


Over the years he has contributed to Commentary, The New Republic, National Review, The New York Review of Books, The American Scholar, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The American Spectator, Partisan Review, Modern Painters, The Boston Globe, the London Times Literary Supplement, and the London Sunday Telegraph. Mr. Kramer has been the editor of Arts Magazine, and the art critic of The Nation. In 1965 he joined the staff of The New York Times as art news editor. He was appointed chief art critic of the Times in 1973, and remained in that position until he resigned in 1982 to become the editor of The New Criterion.


Mr. Kramer is the author of several volumes of criticism including The Age of the Avant-Garde: 1956-1972 (1973), The Revenge of the Philistines: Art and Culture, 1972-1984 (1985), The Twilight of the Intellectuals: Culture and Politics in the Era of the Cold War (1999), and The Triumph of Modernism: The Art World, 1985-2005 (2006).  He has also penned critical monographs on the work of Milton Avery, Gaston Lachaise, Richard Lindner, and several other artists. He is the editor of The New Criterion Reader (1988), and co-editor (with Roger Kimball) of Against the Grain: The New Criterion on Art and Intellect at the End of the Twentieth Century (1995), The Future of the European Past (1997), and The Survival of Culture: Permanent Values in a Virtual Age (2002). Most recently, Mr. Kramer co-edited a collection of essays with Mr. Kimball entitled Counterpoints: 25 Years of The New Criterion on Culture & the Arts (2007).


Mr. Kramer died on March 27, 2012. In May 2012, The New Criterion will publish a special issue dedicated to his legacy. A compendium of notices about Mr. Kramer may be found here


article archive

Exhibition note | February 2007

On "Saul Steinberg: Illuminations" at the Morgan Library and Museum, New York.

A conversation with Philippe de Montebello | September 2006

The director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art talks with TNC

Exhibition note | March 2006

"David Smith: A Centennial" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Deaccession roulette | December 2005

On an unfortunate art world practice.

Rediscovering Matisse | October 2005

On Hilary Spurling's Matisse the Master.

view all 171 articles

books by author

The Triumph of Modernism: The Art World, 1985-2005

The Triumph of Modernism: The Art World, 1985-2005

by Hilton Kramer



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The Twilight of the Intellectuals: Culture and Politics in the Era of the Cold War

The Twilight of the Intellectuals: Culture and Politics in the Era of the Cold War

by Hilton Kramer



go to bookstore

view all books

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September 29, 2015

Friends and Young Friends Event: Book Launch Party with Peter Pettus

October 02, 2015

Friends and Young Friends Event: "The Corruption of our Political Institutions," a symposium

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