Roger Kimball: Art’s Prospect

The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity

Ivan R. Dee, 2004

Back Cover:

Art's ProspectMost of the really invigorating action in the art world today is a quiet affair, Roger Kimball observes. It takes place not at the Tate Modern in London or at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, not in the Chelsea of TriBeCa galleries but off to one side, out of the limelight. It usually involves not the latest thing but the permanent things. They can be new or old, but their relevance is measured not by the buzz they create but by the silences they inspire. In brilliant reviews and essays, Art’s Prospect illuminates some of the chief spiritual itineraries of modern art.

“Kimball’s art reviews are lucid mini-educations in the exercise of taste…If you find most of today’s art establishment pretentious, ideologically silly, and largely devoid of taste and talent, you will love this collection of forty sharp-witted articles.”  Brian J. Buchanan, Nashville Tennessean

“Roger Kimball is one of the few critics writing in art today who combines an acute visual sense of beauty with historical knowledge, a coherent philosophy of art, and an ability to write clean, vigorous, and accurate English. To these virtues he ads refreshing common sense. So there is much to be learned and enjoyed in these stimulating, provocative and elegant essays.”  Paul Johnson

“Far from being just another polemical rant, Art’s Prospect takes us inside the heads of those who execute and market contemporary art, helping us understand what they think they are doing, and why doing it is such a profitable business.”  First Things

Reviews cited by Amazon:

“Kimball knows his business…His reviews make me hungry to see what I’ve missed.”  The Weekly Standard

“One of the ablest and most philosophically skilled critics on the current scene.”  Frederick Morgan

“A trenchant and courageous critic…his positive values and his historical grasp make him far more than a mere polemicist.”  John Gross

“One of the most candid and perceptive critics of American culture.”  Gertrude Himmelfarb

“A scathing critic but one whose tirades are usually justified…his intellectual rigor is refreshing.”  Catherine Saint Louis, The New York Times

“Roger Kimball of the New Criterion is at it again, for which throughtful readers should be grateful.”  First Things

“His positions are not always predictable but are consistently well argued.”  Cybereditions Critics Series

“Witty, insightful, and inciting compilation of twenty years of art reviews…Kimball’s opinions have an appealing candor, and, delivered in a lively colloquial style, make for engaging, intelligent reading.”  Art Scope

“An approach that, in many ways, I very much enjoy.”  Keith Russell,

“In a penetrating and often hilarious series of articles he takes on what he considers the ‘hucksterism’ of both artists and museum directors. Kimball never tries to hide his stripes. The result is lively and informative.”  Nancy Chaplin, Kliatt

About the Author:

Roger Kimball is managing editor of the New Criterion and an art critic for the London Spectator. His other books include Lives of the Mind, Experiments Against Reality, The Long March, and Tenured Radicals. He lives in South Norwalk, Connecticut.

JOB’s Comment:

This is one of the books, or compilations, published by Kimball after my essay on him in 2001. I should perhaps return to him and say something about these more recent books too; this far, I have only read this one, which I found especially interesting since little or nothing of his art criticism was represented in the books I focused on.

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All original writing and photography © Jan Olof Bengtsson

"A Self-realized being cannot help benefiting the world. His very existence is the highest good."
Ramana Maharshi