FINE ARTS
Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light, 100 Art Writings 1988–2018
Abrams. Jun. 2019. 400p. index. ISBN 9781419734380. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781683355298. FINE ARTS
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Longtime New Yorker art critic Schjeldahl (formerly, Village Voice) covers a fruitful and entertaining 30 years of art affairs. There is much here showcasing a cheerfully ecumenical embrace crossing the art spectrum: old masters such as Donatello, Rembrandt, and Velazquez; modernists, including Alice Neel and Sigmar Polke; 19th-century heroes Courbet and Degas; photographers Weegee and Thomas Struth; even cheese vendors such as Frederick Remington. Throughout all this winning variety, the author’s witty insightfulness resurfaces to charm readers with engaging turns of phrase, plain assertions, and autobiographical glosses. It’s all disarmingly enthusiastic and unswaggering; The essays, some long, others little more than lengthy blurbs, are organized unchronologically around the book’s title themes, making this a dip-into type of read best launched from the table of contents toward writing that is indeed hot, cold, heavy, and light.

VERDICT A compendium of piquant art prose from a happy, hungry omnivore, and great for aesthetes of all kinds.

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