Rabbit on Deadline: John Updike’s ‘Always Looking’


Halfway through Always Looking (Knopf, 224 pp., $45), the third collection of John Updike’s art criticism—and the first posthumously released one—the celebrated novelist begins to rank haystacks. The snowy Claude Monet landscapes in question appear in the glossy hardback a page before the ranking, and since all of them feature a haystack or two, you would think they would all be fairly similar in quality. Read More


The Novelist as Performance Artist: On Chris Kraus, the Art World’s Favorite Fiction Writer

Chris Kraus. (Photo by Nic Amato)

The writer Chris Kraus’s move from New York to Los Angeles in the mid-1990s coincided with the birth of a particular art scene there, one that emerged from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where Mike Kelley was on the faculty and where Ms. Kraus co-taught a class called “Fictocriticism” with science fiction author Mark von Schlegell. Fictocriticism, Ms. Kraus explained over the phone from Los Angeles last week, has to do with “writing about art and ideas with the same intensity and cadence as your own problems or the party you went to last night.” She was writing frequently for Artext magazine. Her friend Giovanni Intra had co-founded a gallery called China Art Objects, kick-starting L.A.’s Chinatown gallery district. She appeared in a film made by Mr. von Schlegell and another Chinatown gallerist, simulating a sex act on a tree in a state park outside the city. Read More


Art Critic Sebastian Smee Sells Book About Artist Rivalries


Sebastian Smee, chief art critic for the Boston Globe, has sold a book about friendship and rivalry between artists, specifically Edgard Degas and Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, and Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. The book, it was announced yesterday via Publishers Marketplace, was sold to editor David Ebershoff at Random House. Read More


CUNY’s Feminist Press to Publish Pussy Riot Book


The Feminist Press at the City University of New York will be publishing an ebook of essays about the Russian punk group Pussy Riot. Three of the group’s members are serving jail sentences after being convicted of “hooliganism inspired by religious hatred” after a short performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Some of the stellar contributors to the book are Yoko Ono, Johanna Fateman, Karen Finley, Justin Vivian Bond, Eileen Myles and JD Samson. Read More


Sol LeWitt’s Authorized Biography Sells to FSG

Sol LeWitt. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Farrar, Straus and Giroux announced that it has purchased the first authorized biography on Sol LeWitt, a pioneer of the movements of conceptualism and minimalism, titled Sol LeWitt: A Life of Ideas, by Lary Bloom. While there has been a tremendous amount of documentation of the work of LeWitt, an artist known for his geometric sculptures and drawings, the story of his life has yet to be told. “I don’t think anyone has had the access that this author will have,” said Alexander Star, senior editor at FSG, who struck the deal. Read More