What happened, how did we get from Mantegna’s Crucifixion to balloon dogs, from worshipping the sublime to idolising the sub-par?
Arikha was one of the most interesting and accomplished figurative painters of the latter decades of the twentieth century. His paintings, drawings, pastels, engravings, and other works adorn the walls of museums around the world. But he was also an art historian with a voice equally as exciting and learned. Better read in the history of art than many academics and career critics, his writings, anthologised by their author in this volume, tackle the great questions of art in a deep and personal manner.
Arikha speaks up against the discrediting of talent, the wiping out of difference in short, against the fear of hierarchy. For him, art has become increasingly futile, hollow, and internally contradictory, prey to the miserable and indefensible compulsion of avant-gardism and novelty: every month a new genius is discovered, and people keep talking about revolution in painting or sculpture in the same way one talks about revolution in refrigerators or toilet paper.
paperback, 304 pages