Support the preservation of the classics and the cultivation of the next generation of critics.
In the past two years, subscriptions to The New Criterion have increased 87 percent. Think of that! In an age of “the death of print,” a near doubling of The New Criterion’s print circulation. At the same time, our online readership has more than doubled. Nearly ten thousand readers have signed up for our weekly editorial newsletters. Twenty-five thousand readers now follow us through social media.
Do the numbers, as they say, speak for themselves? In a certain sense, yes. But numbers only tell part of the success story that is The New Criterion. What’s missing is your role, over these thirty-six years, in sharing the bold vision of our founding editor, Hilton Kramer, for an uncompromising journal of culture and the arts. As venues such as The New York Times turn increasingly to “clickbait,” there's an ever greater hunger for substantive critical journalism—journalism where the only criterion (apart from vigorous prose) is the criterion of truth. That’s something that Hilton understood when he left his position as Chief Art Critic for The New York Times to start the magazine in 1982. The need for critical candidness is even more pressing today when more and more cultural organs have become indistinguishable from trendy public-relations emporia.
There are few opportunities for young cultural writers, if any, quite like the Hilton Kramer Fellowship.
Allow me to tell you about one program in particular in which your support has been vital to the future of The New Criterion and American cultural criticism. Since its earliest days, The New Criterion has served as a first home for dozens of talented young writers; Mark Steyn, Bruce Bawer, Robert Messenger, Jed Perl, my colleague James Panero, and the late Joe Rago: from The Wall Street Journal to The Weekly Standard and beyond, many of the most influential writers and editors in the cultural world have cut their teeth at The New Criterion. In that spirit, in 2013 we inaugurated the Hilton Kramer Fellowship, honoring the extraordinary life and career of our founding editor, to give one recent college graduate each year the chance to join our editorial staff and apprentice as a cultural critic.
The Fellowship has been an even greater success than we hoped. The incumbent, Andrew Shea, is an accomplished painter who just graduated with honors from Dartmouth College and has already contributed several excellent art reviews to The New Criterion. His predecessor, Mene Ukueberuwa, has just completed the prestigious Bartley Fellowship at The Wall Street Journal and is now an assistant editor at City Journal. Christine Emba is now a columnist and editor at The Washington Post. The inaugural Fellow, Eric Simpson, has become known as a sharp voice among New York’s music critics, while Benjamin Riley has just returned after a year studying architecture at the Courtauld Institute—both are now vital parts of The New Criterion’s editorial team.
The need for critical candidness is even more pressing today.
Few words are so overused or abused as “unique,” but I can say with confidence that there are few opportunities for young cultural writers, if any, quite like the Hilton Kramer Fellowship. Where else can an aspiring critic break into the world of cultural commentary and get hands-on experience in the fight for arts and letters?
Be sure to read more about the accomplishments of our young talents here. Like everything we do at The New Criterion, the Hilton Kramer Fellowship could not exist without the support of our readers. We are all extremely grateful for the trust and friendship that you have shown us over these three and a half decades. I firmly believe that The New Criterion, as a critical periodical with the courage to call things by their proper names, is as vital as it was when Hilton, joined by Samuel Lipman, began this project back in 1982. I know you feel the same, and I hope that we can continue to rely on your support.
Roger Kimball, Editor & Publisher