Let’s See: Writings on Art from the 'New Yorker’

Peter Schjeldahl, Author . Thames & Hudson $31.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-500-23845-5

In 75 exuberant essays written for the New Yorker during the past 10 years, art critic Schjeldahl covers works from antiquity to the present. Many of his longtime favorite artists, including Fra Angelico, Manet, Eakins, Calder and Brice Marden, come in for praise. But one of Schjeldahl’s virtues is that he can change his mind, as he does in enthusiastic reappraisals of Tintoretto, Chardin, Winslow Homer, John Currin and Christo’s The Gates . He scolds connoisseurs who turn up their noses at shows like the Guggenheim’s “1900: Art at the Crossroads,” which consisted of paintings that were too popular for “sober-sided intellectuals.” In “Varieties of Museum Experience,” he offers a trenchant critique of various types of museums and praises Munich’s new Pinakothek der Moderne, which offers “a treat rather than a treatment.” Controversy, like that surrounding the 1999 show “Sensation” at the Brooklyn Museum, delights him, and he is not afraid to be charmed by art that is out of fashion, such as the “Victorian Fairy Painting” exhibit at the Frick in 1998. “We need to recover the pleasure principle in our experience of art and in our public talk about it,” Schjeldahl says. (May 27)

Reviewed on: 03/10/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 258 pages - 978-0-500-74010-1
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