Cover image for Brushes with history : writing on art from The nation : 1865-2001
Brushes with history : writing on art from The nation : 1865-2001
Meyer, Peter G.
Publication Information:
New York: Thunder Mouth Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxviii, 531 pages ; 23 cm
Added Author:
Added Uniform Title:
Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865)
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N7443.2 .B78 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Nation magazine, since its founding in 1865, began what has become, for better or worse, art criticism as a cultural institution in the United States. This eclectic collection features contributors like Christopher Hitchens on "degenerate art," Heywood Broun on the Artists Congress of 1936, Katherine Anne Porter on children's art, Marianne Moore on the death of Nation art critic Paul Rosenfeld, and Langston Hughes on "Negro Art." The volume also includes contributions from many well-known artists: Stuart Davis, Marsden Harley, Alfred Stieglitz, John Marin, Kenyon Cox, Guy Pene Du Bois, Louis Lozowick, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Celebrated writers on art such as Bernard Berenson, Clement Greenberg, Lawrence Alloway, Hilton Kramer, Max Kozloff, John Berger, and Arthur Danto give readers first-hand accounts of the debuts of artists ranging from John Singer Sargent to Jackson Pollock and Willem deKooning as well as the famous lawsuit between John Ruskin and James McNeill Whistler (reported by a youthful Henry James), the destruction of Diego Rivera's Rockefeller Center murals and Richard Nixon's views on art. More recently writers like E.L. Doctorow and Katha Pollitt have weighed in on the recent culture wars over arts funding and free expression.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Beginning with some 1865 articles about P.T. Barnum's American Museum and finishing up with an Arthur Danto piece on Damien Hirst from 2000, Brushes with History: Art of The Nation, 1865-2001 offers an abundance of taste-making art criticism from one of the country's oldest lefty magazines. Edited by Peter G. Meyer director of the Public Works Project, "a non-profit organization that produces protest art for public interest organizations" the compilation includes salvos from Henry James, Marsden Hartley, Alfred Stieglitz, Meyer Shapiro, Clement Greenberg, Marianne Moore and Max Kozloff, all the way up to current contributors Christopher Hitchens and Katha Pollitt, in a virtual overview of American popular art criticism. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Nearly a century and a half of the Nation's writing on art is condensed into this selection of 125 essays, beginning with pieces on P.T. Barnum's American Museum collection of curiosities (including preserved animals floating in chemical solutions) and closing with the similarly bisected specimens of Damian Hirst. Arthur Danto, art critic for the Nation since 1984, pens an introduction in praise of previous critics and the Nation's commitment to art criticism. Editor Meyer (founder of the Public Works Project) bridges the decades and essays with concise and erudite editorial interjections that allow the writings to speak for themselves. Debuts by then undiscovered artists are recorded, as are past controversies and commentary on public art and the ever-changing role of art in society. The authors include major critics as well as guest writers. To the Nation's considerable credit, at their best these selections remain cogent, crisp, and a pleasure to read. Highly recommended for academic, institutional, and large public collections. Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.