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The Loneliness Thing

Peter Campbell, 5 February 1981

Nature and Culture 
by Barbara Novak.
Thames and Hudson, 323 pp., £16, August 1980, 0 500 01245 8
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Edward Hopper: The Complete Prints 
by Gail Levin.
Norton, 128 pp., £9.95, April 1980, 0 393 01275 1
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Edward Hopper as illustrator 
by Gail Levin.
Norton, 288 pp., £15.95, April 1980, 0 393 01243 3
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... Church was a 19th-century American painter. The picture made 2½ million dollars at auction in New York: a reminder that provincial values – in a number of senses of those words – can still surprise. ‘The Americans,’ Professor Novak writes, ‘participated in the great landscape adventure’ of the 19th century ‘with an art that grew out of its ...

At the Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Mies van der Rohe, 23 January 2003

... to justify his principles of planning and construction. The present exhibition puts his first New York Museum of Modern Art show in context. He had been an American citizen for three years when, in 1947, he was invited to display his work and, almost as important, to control the way in which it was displayed. Terence Riley’s essay, ‘Making History: Mies ...

At the Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: ‘Faces in the Crowd: Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today’, 6 January 2005

... the bohemian interstices of the city. So are Nan Goldin’s colour photographs of friends in New York and Paris in the 1990s. Kollwitz and Schad interpret; they are telling us something, inviting us to feel. Evans and Goldin are showing us things but offering less information about how we could or should react. The juxtapositions are not particularly ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Saul Steinberg’s Playful Modernism, 1 January 2009

... was reproduced in these pages, the exhibition had just opened in the Morgan Library in New York. Most of the items were (or were very like) drawings made for print. The framed originals would not, I thought, add much to the intense pleasure to be had from the reproductions. Now that the exhibition has come to London – it can be seen until 15 February ...

In the Street

Peter Campbell: Kerb your Enthusiasm, 9 October 2008

... They disturb the appearance of streets, which look best when they are simple: a granite kerb, York stone slabs, a well-graded carriageway. That is the proper way to underline any distinguished old frontage; it’s what the broad pavement lined with plane trees outside the British Museum does. Jane Austen on tarmac is as much an anachronism as Jane Austen ...

At Tate Modern

Peter Campbell: Barnett Newman, 3 October 2002

... close: a notice tacked to the entrance of his 1951 exhibition in the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, read: ‘There is a tendency to look at large pictures from a distance. The large pictures in this exhibition are intended to be seen from a short distance.’ Then, with your visual field filled to overflowing, see what happens, attending in particular to ...

Curriculum Vitae

Peter Robb, 2 May 1985

... Despite a new paralysis – my back –Am stirred, perhaps, to mine the new resource,Put down my worn suitcases and unpack.[Publications]Reader, should I turn another page?Fly off to somewhere, maybe even worse?Or limp serenely into middle ageAnd try to flog this flimsy book of verse? [c/o Fig Tree PocketQldAustraliaphotopies ofrelevantdocumentati ...

At the Scuderie del Quirinale

Peter Campbell: Antonello da Messina, 8 June 2006

... made to assist private prayer. There are several versions of an Ecce Homo – the one from New York is the most affecting. Christ is shown as a man who has been beaten up, the facial type as well as the expression is one you see in news pictures from the Middle East. The beard is thin and fluffy, the eyebrows are raised in a puzzled inverted V, the mouth ...

Firm Lines

Hermione Lee, 17 November 1983

Bartleby in Manhattan, and Other Essays 
by Elizabeth Hardwick.
Weidenfeld, 292 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 297 78357 2
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... of Kipling). Indeed, the last essay in Bartleby in Manhattan is an attack on an English critic, Peter Conrad, for trying his hand at just this sort of thing. In these American observers and explainers two characteristics recur. The first is a close attention to the significance of detail (‘no ideas but in things’) which is often left to speak for ...

Carmina Europae

J.A. Burrow, 17 October 1985

Poetry of the Carolingian Renaissance 
by Peter Godman.
Duckworth, 364 pp., £29.50, February 1985, 0 7156 1768 0
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... of their native speech. It did not matter whether one had been trained in the schools of York, or Paris, or Bologna – Latin was your language, quite as much as if it had been learned in Rome, and you would write chronicles or treatises or poems in that language, not in the local vernacular. Peter Godman’s ...

At the Jeu de Paume

Brian Dillon: Peter Hujar, 19 December 2019

... The​ American photographer Peter Hujar once told a friend who was feeling unattractive: ‘As you’re walking along, say to yourself: I’m me.’ Hujar’s subjects seem to have heeded the same advice: they exhibit a self-possession tending to the monumental. You can see it in his 1981 portrait of the actor Madeline Kahn ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family, 16 February 2017

... hustlers, mobsters, clubhouse politicians and tabloid sleaze that festered in a corner of New York City, a vindication of his mentor, the Mafia lawyer Roy Cohn, a figure unknown to the vast majority of enthusiasts who jammed Trump’s rallies and hailed him as the authentic voice of the people.The notion of a Trump literature begins, appropriately, with ...

At the Centre Pompidou

Jeremy Harding: Beat Generation, 8 September 2016

... scoutmaster who stalked him across America until Carr pulled out a knife and killed him in New York, no longer emits much light. Nor does poor Herbert Huncke, ‘sad, sweet, dark, holy’, as Kerouac describes him in Desolation Angels. Parts of his notebooks were published in the 1960s, but he only really sputtered to life again in 1990 with an ...

Modern Masters

Frank Kermode, 24 May 1990

Where I fell to Earth: A Life in Four Places 
by Peter Conrad.
Chatto, 252 pp., £16, February 1990, 0 7011 3490 9
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May Week was in June 
by Clive James.
Cape, 249 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 0 224 02787 5
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... sometimes spontaneously, at worst like tonic water shaken to restore a semblance of lost vitality. Peter Conrad goes in more for weight. You could say of him what the earlier James extravagantly observed of the earlier Conrad, that he offers a prolonged hovering flight of the subjective over the outstretched ground of the case exposed. In other words, he ...

Timo of Corinth

Julian Symons, 6 August 1992

A Choice of Murder 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 216 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 7206 0832 5
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Portrait of the Artist’s Wife 
by Barbara Anderson.
Secker, 309 pp., £13.99, June 1992, 9780436200977
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Turtle Moon 
by Alice Hoffman.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £14.99, June 1992, 0 333 57867 8
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Double Down 
by Tom Kakonis.
Macmillan, 308 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 0 333 57492 3
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... in the wilderness. Time alters the past. Gods, too, change ... The exclamatory staccato style is Peter Vansittart’s, and so are some of the words. Many sentences get no further than half a dozen words, some are mere singletons. The manner is intentional, but no more digestible for that. Its chief purpose would seem to be the conveyance of chunks of ...

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