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The other bone Wolfe has to pick is with the proliferation of art theory, particularly the sort purveyed by postwar colossi like Harold Rosenberg, Clement Greenberg, and Leo Steinberg. Decades after the heyday of abstract expressionism, these guys make pretty easy targets. What could be more absurd, after all, than endless Jesuitical disputes about the flatness of the picture plane? So most of them get a highly comical spanking from the author. It's worth pointing out, of course, that Wolfe paints with a broad (as it were) brush. If he's skewering the entire army of artistic pretenders in a single go, there's no room to admit that Jasper Johns or Willem DeKooning might actually have some talent. But as he would no doubt admit, The Painted Word isn't about the history of art. It's about the history of taste and middlebrow acquisition--and nobody has chronicled these two topics as hilariously or accurately as Tom Wolfe. --James Marcus --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
I was talking to an artist friend of mine about selling art versus creating art and she let me know about this little gem of a book. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2004 by R. BULL
I like to think of myself as an intelligent, discriminating person with independent views. But I have gone along with style and said things like "Cubism is clearly in a... Read morePublished on Dec 18 2003 by GEORGE R. FISHER
I've always had a fascination with highly creative people, enjoyed jazz that was ahead of its time, the things that broke the earlier bounds. Read morePublished on April 18 2002
Well, here we go - time to criticize a culture critic. Try saying that three times fast.
Anyone who knows anything about Tom Wolfe will know exactly what to expect from this... Read more
This short tract of a book sets out a single, streamlined argument: that twentieth-century art is really a series of art theories (such as Abstract Expressionism or Pop Art) as... Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2000 by Tom Adair
Art theory, literary modernism and every other pretense that dangeles in front of the contemporary art scene is laughed upon in sincere honesty by Wolfe. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2000
Artists: Are you tired of the gallery system? Tired of being told that your work won't sell, that realism is dead (killed by the camera)? Fight back -- read this book. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2000 by A.C. Cargill
Tom Wolfe is the master of cunning expose. With history and humor he describes the New York City Art scene in the 1960s. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 1999 by Thomas Stamper
While this book is not without its moments of humor, it is obvious to art lovers that Wolfe has little idea what he is talking about. Read morePublished on Aug. 6 1999