The READ: Books I Missed
December 01, 2010

One of the perks—and curses—of my work is that new books and galleys arrive at my home at an astonishing rate, often four or five a day. As a person with hoarding tendencies who also happens always to be in search of ideas for pieces, I put an alarming number of them in the “to keep” pile. But when the books, like some out-of-control vine, threaten to choke everything in their path, it’s time for a year-end purge. Sorting through the last year’s accumulation, I discovered a number of books that I had set aside intending to write about but never got to.

Everyday Symbolist
May 05, 2003

Èdouard Vuillard: Post-Impressionist Master (National Gallery of Art; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) Symbolism, an apotheosis of personal expression that swept through all the arts at the end of the nineteenth century, marked Europe’s final break with the classical humanism of the Renaissance. The struggles for romantic independence that had animated artists, writers, and musicians in France, Germany, and England for more than a hundred years emboldened the Symbolists to follow their sensations wherever they might lead.

Where The Wild Things Are
March 18, 1996

Jed Perl praises the works of book illustrator Maurice Sendak, who died on March 8, 2012.

They All Laughed at Christopher Columbus
October 06, 1992

I Excuse me for noticing, but haven't we been commemorating Columbus's quincentennial in the wrong year? I know that dates and math aren't America's strong suit right now, but it doesn't take advanced calculus to figure that 1492 plus 500 equals 1992. What is it about Columbus that makes for botched commemoration? The Quatercentennial Columbian Exposition opened a year late, in 1893, delayed by the enormous scale of the show and by the protesting groups (yes, even then) who saw themselves more as victims than as beneficiaries of 1492.