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The New Criterion

Quite simply, the best cultural review in the world
- John O’Sullivan



Cherchez la tribu

by James Bowman

Posted: Jul 11, 2014 04:34 PM

Reporting on a new poll about the fact that most Americans, even in these days of unpopular political parties, still identify themselves with one party or the other, Jaime Fuller of the Washington Post explains the matter thus: “So why do voters stick with political parties even when they aggravate them? The same reason we stick with our families — because it’s not like there’s a real alternative. . . So basically: Can’t live with ‘em, can't live without ‘em.” It’s a persuasive argument, but I think it needs a slight amendment. Political parties are not so much like families as they are like tribes — something that hardly exists anywhere else in Western society. In fact, it is only in politics as currently practiced that we can acquire any insight, these days, into what it’s like to live in a tribal society, as most of the world still does. 

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In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Jul 11, 2014 12:29 PM

Links of interest from the past week:

The tea party's new front in the American culture wars: literature
Adam Kirsch, Tablet

In defense of Fanny Price
Tara Isabella Burton, The Paris Review

Rebuild Penn Station!
R. R. Reno, First Things

This is not a VermeerTM
Rex Sorgatz, Medium

Money cubicle's the beast
Brad Phillips, The Enemy

From our pages:

Gatsby meets Macomber
Jeffrey Meyers

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Another look at Detroit

by Michael Pepi

Posted: Jul 09, 2014 05:02 PM

“First Board of Trustees of Detroit Museum of Art” (1907), Percy Ives. Via Detroit Institute of Arts.

The city of Detroit is beset by several unforgiving narratives. We need not recount them here because few, if any, are present in the Todd Levin’s exhibition “Another Look at Detroit,” on view at Marianne Boesky and Marlborough Chelsea this summer. Instead Levin approached his hometown with the lens of the longue durée: rejecting the events that have only recently clouded the city’s stature as a proud beacon of cultural production.

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Backstage Breakdown

by James Panero

Posted: Jul 07, 2014 01:21 PM

Will the Metropolitan Opera be cut short next season by backstage strife? In City Journal I take a look at this management-labor dispute and come out against everyone:

In the last few years, major arts organizations such as the New York City Opera have gone bankrupt; others, like the San Diego Opera, have verged on the brink of insolvency, and labor walkouts have silenced performances from Minnesota to Carnegie Hall. In most of these cases, management and labor have both been part of the problem. The losers are opera lovers and a future generation of supporters, increasingly treated with contempt.

Catch the full story here.

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In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Jul 03, 2014 04:09 PM

Links of interest from the past week:

Opera is not just our most expensive noise
Roger Scruton, Standpoint

The fraught friendship of T. S. Eliot and Groucho Marx
Lee Siegel, The New Yorker

Stage fright: classical music's dark secret
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph

The lost beauty of book endpapers
Allison Meier, Hyperallergic

Brussels spleen
Richard Sieburth (translator), Harper’s Magazine

From our pages:

A bookman of the people
Henrik Bering

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Crowds in the Chapel

by Christine Emba

Posted: Jul 03, 2014 12:03 PM

via Flickr

So you want to see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? […] so does everyone else visiting. If I had known it was going to be this crowded, I would have put cowbells on the family so we could find each other.”

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Bruce Davidson and Paul Caponigro at the YCBA

by Jasmine Horsey

Posted: Jul 02, 2014 03:00 PM

Bruce Davidson, London, 1960; via Beetles & Huxley

The Yale Center for British Art, home to the largest collection of British art outside of England, certainly has its fair share of classical masterpieces. Portraits by Gainsborough, Constable, Turner, and Reynolds line the walls of an architectural space designed by Louis Kahn that is the envy of many world-renowned galleries, let alone universities. But its summer exhibition, featuring the prints of two living American artists, is a rare and exciting contemporary foray. “Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro: Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland,” a collaboration between the YCBA and The Huntington Library, opened last week.

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Apples at the Barnes

by Michael Pepi

Posted: Jul 01, 2014 03:13 PM

Paul Cézanne, The Kitchen Table (La table de cuisine), 1888–90, oil on canvas, 33 3⁄8 × 39 1⁄2 in. (84.8 × 100.3 cm), Musée d’Orsay, Paris, RF 2819

It was the genre that Europe disregarded, but Paul Cézanne made it revolutionary.  “I want to astonish Paris with an apple” he proclaimed. Tempting critics and flouting convention, Cézanne’s still lifes are among his most experimental works; and as an impactful exhibition at the Barnes Foundation argues, they were key to understanding his impact on the history of modern painting.

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There's still time to support The New Criterion!

Posted: Jun 30, 2014 04:15 PM

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Throughout our thirty-second season, our online supporters have been crucial to sustaining The New Criterion as an incisive and intelligent voice in today’s intellectual debate. As we move forward into our next season, your sponsorship will allow us to continue on in our mission to chronicle and critique the best in arts and culture today.

If you have already donated, we thank you for your gift. If you have not, there is still time to pledge your support today! All gifts received by 10:00 PM today, June 30th will be acknowledged in our Friends Report.



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The New Criterion

About ArmaVirumque


( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)


In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.


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