Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Jackson Pollock's TheShe Wolf (), the painting the Museum of Modern Center in Richmond, California, when Tom Marioni was its director. PEOPLE DON'T READ THE MORNING NEWSPAPER,. Marshall McLuhan once said, they slip into it like a warm bath. Too true, Marshall! Imagine being in New. The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Extracts from Foreword, Chapter 1 and Epilogue. PEOPLE DON'T READ THE .

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The Painted Word is a book of art criticism by Tom Wolfe. Contents. 1 Background; 2 . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. The painted word. What you see is what they say. By Tom Wolfe. Download Pdf. Read Online. This article is available in PDF and Microfiche formats only. The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Reissued by Picador, ISBN $» Read an.

Instead, he has written a polemic against it, and throughout the essay he makes his dislike of abstract art perfectly clear. It is a small, insular place in which bohemia the artists and le monde collectors and trustees share a mutual goal—to be different, to separate themselves from the bourgeoisie.

But Wolfe is a cut-rate Prouste who snips together a makeshift cultural history that reverberates with the sound of gossip. The extraneous information sounds too knowing to be wrong. Again, contempt is in the word. Those interested in culture are strange specimens; their behavior is of interest, if distance is kept.

Angry metaphors—images of war and espionage—describe the making of art theory.

His frenzied prose is effective. Repetition, assonance and alliteration impel language into generalized meaning. The specific is not heard, only a sound—and the sound of The Painted Word combines the tones of propaganda with the promises of religious conversion.

Like the audience, Wolfe is bewildered by modern art. His wait for enlightenment is interminable. The craft of the language might earn a certain respect if Wolfe had succeeded in being either satiric or enlightening.

But the message delivered is at best prosaic. There is nothing on that blank canvas but blankness. Ironically, it is what Wolfe does with language that belies his humor and gives him away. We entered those living rooms through Wolfe, and his knowing commentary seemed convincing. Wolfe made a mistake in analyzing art theory instead of life styles, for the writings of the art critics he maligns are all in the library.

To prove modern art fraudulent, Wolfe presents a compendium of misquotations from the writings of three critics: Clement Greenberg, Harold Rosenberg and Leo Steinberg. His three critics lend words of explication that give art its value in the marketplace and for the bourgeoisie.

To Wolfe, high culture is different and dangerous. As a reader and reporter of art theory, Wolfe adopts the role of the innocent who can see simple truth.

From the Archives: Tom Wolfe’s ‘The Painted Word’ Gets Panned, in 1975

It is considered a set-up. The quote marks intentionally mislead, because Steinberg never wrote or spoke those words. The quote marks only mean that this what Wolfe imagined Steinberg saying.

Whatever else it may be about, all art is about art. All original art searches its limits. This is hardly a misunderstanding or good clean fun or trenchant satire; this is, I suspect, dishonest journalism.

Wolfe has not misunderstood recent art theory since he never intended to get it right. Because he reduces concepts to absurdly simple forms, he is understandably attracted to statements which explain complicated or unknown situations and are, therefore, compressed to read with maximum clarity. Again, Wolfe pulls phrases out of context.

Only this time, he juxtaposes them to imply a direct relationship between them. Earlier, misunderstanding Greenberg, Wolfe ridiculed his blunt way of saying that original art is different and necessitates a new way of seeing.

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It is his polemic device to imply that art writing is trickery. Modern art is unchartable, risky to make and hard to look at.

That is why it produces anxiety. Artists invent a new order.

The painted word

Why Derriere Guard? Wolfe says he could not resist embracing it. De Kenessey sensed something in the air around Bennington.

Like radical settlers into the occupied territories, back they came to the Left Bank of Bohemia. Now here in a musty auditorium, Wolfe finds a willing audience for his time-tested routine. No bug-eyed glasses. No strange hair. No conceptual vampire poses.

Like those nude bathers jumping off rocks in an Eakins portrait: Man before the Decline and Fall of an artistic Empire. Turner equates the Derriere Guard with everything from developments in natural science to the environmental movement to sex and reproduction. New classicists are aiming to restore the pleasure of the arts through a revolution against the ugliness and wretched chaos of the contemporary art scene.

Huntington, the author of The Clash of Civilizations. Collins is both a participant in and donor to the event, not to say a firebrand. In New York, he is the greatest hope to turn rearguard ideology into action.

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But what about that ideology? Ten years ago, de Kenessey inaugurated her first Derriere Guard festival at the Kitchen, a New York venue best known for performances by Laurie Anderson and Karen Finley the avant-garde chanteuse and the sex activist, respectively.

The keynote speaker? Tom Wolfe. What did he talk about? Pablo Picasso. That Picasso will be as forgotten by as that one time all-star of the nineteenth-century French academy, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, was forgotten by Think back to The Painted Word, his account of twentieth-century art condensed to index-card-size pages, published in But the action is canned.

It flows. I can understand the words. Wolfe loved that subject.

The Painted Word, meanwhile, was written from a different place. Wolfe keeps after Kramer all the way through The Painted Word. Here Kramer observed: This whole revisionist enterprise has contained from the beginning a large element of philistine revenge…. What we are seeing, I think, is the beginning of a resurgent campaign to discredit the mainstream of modernist achievement … [a] passion to turn back the clock of history, to liquidate all those difficulties of perception and discriminations of feeling that are the very essence of the modernist accomplishment.

In the fine arts, Classical Realism positions itself as the crucible of secret knowledge passed down from the Greeks, rediscovered by the Renaissance, promulgated by the Beaux-Arts academies, nearly exterminated by the modernists, and now resurgent. Conspiracies lurk at every turn to destroy this true art. Little thought is given to the possibility of an evolution in taste, of artistic need, of the vital art that modernism handed down to posterity. Rearguard artists are today creating some wonderful work.

But the unexplored issues surrounding them prevent Classical Realism from making important critical distinctions. And retrenchment also insulates Classical Realism from acceptance by the art world at large. Then there is the wholesale embrace of marginalized art.He fixes values and puts things in places of his own making. I remained in my room with paper and crayons doing my best copying the art in the book. Then there is the wholesale embrace of marginalized art.

As a journalist, Wolfe had devoted much of his writing career to pursuing realism ; Wolfe read in Hilton Kramer 's Times review of Seven Realists, that "to lack a persuasive theory is to lack something crucial". Krauss in Partisan Review. Unfortunately, Wolfe the social critic is as didactic and fearful as Wolfe the art critic. He tells the familiar story that earned him his reputation and made him big at the media box office: the tale of the aspiring haute bourgeoisie.

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