Baudelaire

How Baudelaire Revolutionized Modern Literature

Humiliation as a Way of Life

Baudelaire thought that everything natural was corrupt. This perverse, humiliating belief changed the face of literature.

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The Clock Paula Cooper Gallery One afternoon several months ago, I lingered on West 24th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues as a photographer shot two fashion models in haute punk outfits, with perilously spiky heels and raccoon-style eye makeup. Spring was at long last coming to the city, the final stubborn patches of filthy snow had melted away, and I was not the only person who stopped to watch as the photographer and his models spun their gritty-chic little Manhattan fantasy, the great-looking women vamping while an assistant adjusted a reflector and a stylist stood at the ready.

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The Invisible Masterpiece By Hans Belting Translated by Helen Atkins (University of Chicago Press, 480 pp., $45) Never was there more optimistic nonsense written about abstract art than in Germany after World War II. Abstraction, many artists and critics hoped, would guide the German public back to universal spiritual ideals and reconcile them with European civilization. The Germans were discovering abstract art anew after long years of National Socialist philistinism.

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