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Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity Paperback – June 30, 2004


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Art's Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity + The Use and Abuse of Art (Bollingen XLV) + The Painted Word
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (June 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566635101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566635103
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Kimball knows his business.... His reviews make me hungry to see what I've missed. (The Weekly Standard)

One of the ablest and most philosophically skilled critics on the current scene. (Frederick Morgan)

A trenchant and courageous critic...his positive values and his historical grasp make him far more than a mere polemicist. (John Gross)

One of the most candid and perceptive critics of American culture. (Gertrude Himmelfarb)

There is much to be learned and enjoyed in these stimulating, provocative, and elegant essays. (Paul Johnson, Bowling Green State University)

A scathing critic but one whose tirades are usually justified...his intellectual rigor is refreshing. (Catherine Saint Louis The New York Times)

Roger Kimball of the New Criterion is at it again, for which throughtful readers should be grateful. (First Things)

His positions are not always predictable but are consistently well argued. (Cybereditions Critics Series)

Witty, insightful, and inciting compilation of twenty years of art reviews.... Kimball's opinions have an appealing candor, and, delivered in a lively colloquial style, make for engaging, intelligent reading. (Art Scope)

Kimball's art reviews are lucid mini-educations in the exercise of taste. (The Tennessean)

An approach that, in many ways, I very much enjoy. (Keith Russell Artschuttlebutt.Com)

In a penetrating and often hilarious series of articles he takes on what he considers the 'hucksterism' of both artists and museum directors....Kimbell never tries to hide his stripes. The result is lively and informative. (Nancy Chaplin Kliatt)

About the Author

Roger Kimball is managing editor of the New Criterion and an art critic for the London Spectator. His other books include Lives of the Mind, Experiments Against Reality, The Long March, and Tenured Radicals. He lives in South Norwalk, Connecticut.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By T. Mccobb on December 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Funny and irreverent, Kimball captures prosaically what so many of us artists and art lovers often feel. The nexus between art critics, gallery owners, and celebrity has always been insidious. Kimball shows no mercy when jabbing at politically correct shibboleths in the established art economy.

Contrary to what another reviewer (I must wonder whether he actually read the book) has posted here twice, Kimball does indeed offer us guidance in how to "approach art" with one very important message: The art itself and by itself is always more important than the critic. What he does not do is genuflect before the altar of over-intellectualization and deconstruction that enthralls so many art poseurs.

Highly recommended.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By bscc on October 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In an artworld where cynicism and duplicity are the norm, Kimball offers an important commentary of the lack of values that inform much of the art and art criticism today. For most critics, art need only be "challenging" to be good. Kimball clearly states the importance of craft, skill and intellectual rigour as disciplines which artists need to cultivate. Kimball's stylish prose and precise vocabulary make this a highly enjoyable read.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey A. Sherman on September 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Kimball is a breath of fresh air in the world of art criticism. Also, the New Criterion, the magazine his writes for, is terrific.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Irfan A. Khawaja on February 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a number of genuine virtues, many of them noted by other reviewers here. But these virtues mostly concern the sympathy that readers have for the conclusions that Kimball reaches and expresses--in favor of standards, against nihilism, and the like. But what Kimball says in the book about Clement Greenberg might with equal justice be said about the book itself: "He favored the brief review...and he tended to purge his writing of argument, leaving only judgments, the conclusions" (p. 98). Like Greenberg, Kimball has little patience or aptitude for argument. The average essay in this book is a review of a few pages' length, occasionally insightful, but full of unsupported assertions and argumentative fallacies. When Kimball confronts a view he doesn't like, his first resort is to laugh at it. His second resort is to appeal to one of his favorite authorities and throw an impressive quotation at it (from e.g., Julius Meier-Graefe, Roger Fry, Clement Greenberg, Aristotle, Kant). The first strategy seems to suggest that Kimball is just too sophisticated to take his interlocutors seriously. The second one suggests that Kimball has read what his interlocutors haven't. In fact, what both strategies actually reveal is a fundamental incapacity to think for oneself and write accordingly.

His discussion of Ayn Rand in the fourth chapter is simply incompetent: every attempt at rebuttal in it commits some textbook fallacy (e.g., begging the question). The strange thing is that while Kimball insists--in 2001, against Rand--that art cannot be defined, he repeatedly contradicts that very claim throughout the book. Reading the book backwards: in 1997, he wonders whether the work of Gilbert and George is genuine art (p.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eulit Hinson on December 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are enough good points about this book to make it a worthy purchase. As a painter struggling to work within a traditional academic style of painting, I welcome most all of the well-deserved bullets fired at the modern "art" establishment, such as the excellent work being done by the Art Renewal Center. That being said, this book indeed has its problematic aspects. From reading the reviews and the blurb for this book one would think that the author would be a latter-day champion of traditional western art and its values - at times he does indeed seem to be so inclined. However, when one reads through the progressive essays and notices that the author takes denigrating shots at the likes of latter-day masters such as Burne-Jones, Moreau, and Leighton, while singing praises for Matisse and the modern art critic Clement Greenberg, one begins to wonder if there is a self-denying modernist masquerading behind a traditionalist veneer. At least he does get the evaluation of Odd Nerdrum correct. Worth a look, but traditional artists and enthusiasts looking for a kindred spirit should be on the lookout for some of the rather odd and contradictory opinions presented here.
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