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Always Looking: Essays on Art di John Updike
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Always Looking: Essays on Art (edizione 2012)

di John Updike, Christopher Carduff (A cura di)

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In this posthumous collection of John Updike's art writings, a companion volume to the acclaimed "Just Looking "(1989) and "Still Looking" (2005), readers are again treated to "remarkably elegant essays" ("Newsday") in which "the psychological concerns of the novelist drive the eye from work to work until a deep understanding of the art emerges" ("The New York Times Book Review"). " Always Looking "opens with "The Clarity of Things," the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities for 2008. Here, in looking closely at individual works by Copley, Homer, Eakins, Norman Rockwell, and others, the author teases out what is characteristically "American" in American art. This talk is followed by fourteen essays, most of them written for "The New York Review of Books," on certain highlights in Western art of the last two hundred years: the iconic portraits of Gilbert Stuart and the sublime landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church, the series paintings of Monet and the monotypes of Degas, the richly patterned canvases of Vuillard and the golden extravagances of Klimt, the cryptic triptychs of Beckmann, the personal graffiti of Miro, the verbal-visual puzzles of Magritte, and the monumental Pop of Oldenburg and Lichtenstein. The book ends with a consideration of recent works by a living American master, the steely sculptural environments of Richard Serra. John Updike was a gallery-goer of genius. "Always Looking" is, like everything else he wrote, an invitation to look, to "see, " to apprehend the visual world through the eyes of a connoisseur.--publisher.… (altro)
Utente:memasmb
Titolo:Always Looking: Essays on Art
Autori:John Updike
Altri autori:Christopher Carduff (A cura di)
Info:Knopf (2012), Edition: 0, Hardcover, 224 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Voto:****1/2
Etichette:read, art, ABC

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Always Looking: Essays on Art di John Updike

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I've only had time to read one chapter --on Gilbert Stuart-- before returning this to the library, and I've enjoyed it so far.

It's a lovely glimpse (with great writing and interesting details) of exhibitions I've been unable to see in person.
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
Most of the compiled essays here are mostly discussions by the late John Updike on exhibits that no longer exist. Therefore, that can be frustrating at times.

I wished I had been at one exhibit (featuring Gilbert Stuart, shown at the Met in NYC from 2004-2005) where Updike stepped in a room and saw "Fourteen portraits of the Father of Our Country in one great custard-yellow room -- a herd? a flock? a bevy? of George Washingtons! Such a concentration has its comedy as well as a surreal grandeur. The image is so familiar as to leave an art reviewer wordless. Even the chirping children were momentarily hushed" (p. 33).

When discussing Klimt and Schiele's drawings, Updike had this to say: "Together, the two men restored genitals to the non-pornographic nude, and sketched sex in something like its melancholy complexity. Vienna in the first decades of the twentieth century was the capital of sexual realism, as Freud, paper by paper, carefully placed the sex drive at the center of the human psyche" (p. 118).

What many don't realize about artists is that if they're prolific, it is most likely that they have assistants. I personally worked briefly some years ago sewing on pieces for a fiber artist who displayed/sold "her" works all over the country in galleries and some art museums. Dale Chihuly the glass artist employs assistants to create his fabulous glass art. So it was interesting, but not a shock, when Updike tells us Lichtenstein used assistants for his work; his technique was as follows: "Lichtenstein's defining stroke of genius was to enlarge Benday dots into a motif. At first they were dabbed on by brush; then the bristles of a dog brush were dipped in paint and canvas, pressed against the canvas...by 1963, Lichtenstein had developed a method whereby manufactured stencils were employed by assistants" (p. 172). I certainly will look more closely at the Benday dots next time I view a Lichtenstein.

Of course, some of the essays captured my interest more than others -- I wasn't much entranced by the last essay discussing Richard Serra's show covering forty years of his sculptures -- even when Updike exulted that "this show is a triumph, the biggest interactive art event in Manhattan since Christo's saffron flags fluttered in a wintry Central Park over two years ago" (p. 181).

The discussed artwork are well-reproduced in color here, and I appreciated that; it's the next best thing to actually being there. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Dec 3, 2014 |
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In this posthumous collection of John Updike's art writings, a companion volume to the acclaimed "Just Looking "(1989) and "Still Looking" (2005), readers are again treated to "remarkably elegant essays" ("Newsday") in which "the psychological concerns of the novelist drive the eye from work to work until a deep understanding of the art emerges" ("The New York Times Book Review"). " Always Looking "opens with "The Clarity of Things," the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities for 2008. Here, in looking closely at individual works by Copley, Homer, Eakins, Norman Rockwell, and others, the author teases out what is characteristically "American" in American art. This talk is followed by fourteen essays, most of them written for "The New York Review of Books," on certain highlights in Western art of the last two hundred years: the iconic portraits of Gilbert Stuart and the sublime landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church, the series paintings of Monet and the monotypes of Degas, the richly patterned canvases of Vuillard and the golden extravagances of Klimt, the cryptic triptychs of Beckmann, the personal graffiti of Miro, the verbal-visual puzzles of Magritte, and the monumental Pop of Oldenburg and Lichtenstein. The book ends with a consideration of recent works by a living American master, the steely sculptural environments of Richard Serra. John Updike was a gallery-goer of genius. "Always Looking" is, like everything else he wrote, an invitation to look, to "see, " to apprehend the visual world through the eyes of a connoisseur.--publisher.

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