14 October 2006

36

Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere by Michael Kimmelman (4/5)

Kimmelman is an art critic for The New York Times since 1990, but criticism is not really his role in this book. He provides background and context for the 18 artists with whom he visited museums and generally lets their observations and commentary fill in the rest. (Only in a few chapters did it seem like Kimmelman was expounding on the background to flesh out slim exchanges.) Among the 18 artists are: Elizabeth Murray, Francis Bacon, Richard Serra, Roy Lichtenstein, Lucian Freud, Susan Rothenberg, Bruce Nauman, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Chuck Close.

What the artists had to say about other people's works is what I found most interesting. Most of the works discussed are pictured in the book in addition to works by each of the artists commenting. (Several pieces would have benefited from color plates, however.) A few paintings caught the attention of more than one artist, revealing different interests, likes, and dislikes. The "portraits" are ultimately of the artists themselves as they are unveiled through their museum experiences.

One year ago at TTaT: Just like riding a bike tricycle again
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