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Still Looking: Essays on American Art Hardcover – November 8, 2005
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Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
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Some of these essays reference his published essays or art reviews from earlier years ('Just Looking') while the bulk of this book is composed of his very well observed paintings by his favorite artists and art topics: the study of the development of landscape in American painting, the comparison of Albert Pinkham Ryder with Jackson Pollock ('Americans, with their basically millennial expectations, admire holy fools, especially in the arts, and Ryder is our holy fool of painting'), his evaluations of Winslow Homer ('With Homer we feel no waste...He beautifully exploited his talent and his days...'), Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper (his favorite American painter), Whistler, Childe Hassam, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keefe and Alfred Stieglitz, Arthur Dove, and Andy Warhol. He rages against the period of Abstract Expressionism (!), comparing it to the parallel in American thought processes and mental needs of the time.
Where Updike differs from other commentators on art is in his degree of passion. His obsession with painting informs all of his writing and while some of the essays go on a bit too long, they are never less than wholly felt. This book can be read as an Updike digression, as a scintillating book of art criticism, or as a look at American art history from the stance of a novelist. Whatever approach appeals to the reader, this is a fine, well written, and exceedingly entertaining book. Recommended. Grady Harp, November 05
That said, this book is magnificent! The articles are well done and the art work is reproduced in vibrant color. I found a number of works I had never seen as well as "discovering" several artists that were essentially new to me, and was fascinated by the depth of the art produced by them. If you want to begin to learn about American artists, this collection of reviews is a very good place to start.
Some paintings that I have previously seen and enjoyed now have greater meaning to me due to the insights conveyed by Mr. Updike on the life and work of the responsible artist. Two good examples being the art of Childe Hassam and that of Edward Hopper.
Non-experts (like me) will be induced to go beyond this survey and more deeply explore the full range of work of some, if not all, of Mr. Updike's featured artists.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this for my husband. He liked it very much. I also bought him Always Looking which he doesn't think is quite as good.Published on January 7, 2014 by fran w.
Arguably America's last great man of letters, the late John Updike's interests ranged from art, to literature, children's books, and occasionally to golf. Read morePublished on December 15, 2012 by Great Faulkner's Ghost
In 1989 a collection of John Updike's writings on art appeared under the title JUST LOOKING, providing a refreshingly different viewpoint on the art world: in the last sixteen... Read morePublished on April 26, 2006 by D. Donovan, Editor/Sr. Reviewer