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Making It New: Collected Essays and Writings of Henry Geldzahler

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For the past 35 years, Henry Geldzahler, controversial first curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Twentieth Century Art, has been at the center of America's lively and vital art scene. Making It New is the first collection of his essays, interviews and talks, and includes work that has never been published. His style is disarmingly intimate, insightful and amusing. In this generous selection of writings Henry Geldzahler is always an enchanting guide to a world of innovative artistic activity....
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Overview

For the past 35 years, Henry Geldzahler, controversial first curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Twentieth Century Art, has been at the center of America's lively and vital art scene. Making It New is the first collection of his essays, interviews and talks, and includes work that has never been published. His style is disarmingly intimate, insightful and amusing. In this generous selection of writings Henry Geldzahler is always an enchanting guide to a world of innovative artistic activity. He is master of a particularly informal interview style which allows artists as diverse as Frank Stella, Alice Neel and Louise Bourgeois to reveal fresh insights to their methods and intentions. His essays on photography, on "The Sixties" and his commencement address remind us of Calvin Tompkins' comment in "The Scene" that Henry Geldzahler's effect (as teacher) was phenomenal. "Students...were mesmerized by his brilliant, amusing perception on every imaginable subject." These extraordinary writings are filled with high spirits, humor, literary charm and skillful connoisseurship.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Geldzahler was the Metropolitan Museum of Art's curator of contemporary arts from 1966 to 1977, then served as New York City Commissioner of Cultural Affairs until 1982, and is currently curator of the DIA Center for the Arts in Bridgehampton, N.Y. He has spent his career attempting to bring new art to the public, and this mission is obvious in the 36 articles, interviews and lectures collected here. Written during the past 30 years, they present Geldzahler's thoughts on the work of Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, and many others and demonstrate his excitement for each new style as it came along, from Pop and Happenings in the '60s to the most offbeat art of the '90s. Even if one disagrees with his assessments of such artists as Francesco Clemente, Keith Haring or Jean-Michel Basquiat, one has to appreciate a critic who, in response to an exhibition of glass works by Dale Chihuly, can state: ``. . . as if color itself were floating in the air. It is an elevating experience. It makes you walk a bit lighter for the rest of the day.'' (May)
Library Journal
Longtime curator of 20th-century art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the earliest and most vital champion of pop art, and friend and adviser to the majority of Sixties and Seventies art-world geniuses, Geldzahler is one of this country's most enduring art experts. Arguably, the veneration now accorded the artists examined here (Warhol, Rauschenberg, Kelly, de Kooning, Hockney, Bourgeois, Lichtenstein, Neel, and Basquiat) is largely due to his early cognizance and intuition. Culled from the past 30 years, these essays and interviews construct an accessible and astute summation of art in the second half of this century. This is not objective, aesthetic scholarship but a first-person account from the man who was there. Geldzahler's expertise is eclipsed only by his enthusiasm. Though some of the observations are repeated in more than one essay, and the book lacks the cohesive thesis that its title suggests, the writing is so shrewd and ardent as to render this historical and theoretical time capsule indispensable. Highly recommended.-Doug McClemont, New York
Donna Seaman
Geldzahler, an ebullient man given to bow ties and extravagant shirts, is a veritable captain of culture. He was the first curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's twentieth-century art department, a position he resigned to become Mayor Koch's cultural affairs commissioner. Confident and blessed with a strong sense of history and art's continuity and value, Geldzahler stimulated interest in and appreciation of a host of pioneering artists, from Andy Warhol to Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and George Segal. Not only does Geldzahler have a keen eye for art, but he also has the heart for it, responding with unfailing receptivity and profound pleasure. And he can even write about it with clarity, enthusiasm, and generosity. Three decades' worth of his scintillating and revealing essays, memoirs, and interviews are collected here, each a fine example of his crisp prose and energetic response to a wide spectrum of modern art. The roster of artists he discusses or speaks with includes David Hockney, Sandro Chia, Alice Neel, Isamu Noguchi, Keith Haring, and Louise Bourgeois.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780962798764
  • Publisher: Turtle Point Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.84 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
An Interview with Henry Geldzahler 1
The Art Audience and the Critic 19
Happenings: Theater by Painters 26
Some Notes on Sleep 34
Twelve Stories for John Cage 36
Andy Warhol 39
Andy Warhol: A Memoir 42
Robert Rauschenberg 45
An Interview with Frank Stella 51
George Segal 58
An Interview with Larry Poons 64
An Interview with Ellsworth Kelly 68
Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs, 1964-1965 74
Creating a New Department 81
New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940-1970 93
David Hockney 126
A Commencement Address 154
Approaching Clemente 165
Sandro Chia 179
An Interview with Georg Baselitz 184
Jean-Michel Basquiat 197
Good-bye, Dali 206
Isamu Noguchi: What Is Sculpture? 217
Willem de Kooning: Abstract Landscapes, 1955-1963 226
Alice Neel 232
Lichtenstein's Picassos: 1962-1964 242
Andy Warhol Prints: Catalogue Raisonne 247
Hockney: Young and Older 253
Pop Art 1955-1970 263
Louise Bourgeois 283
Myron Stout: Pathways and Epiphanies 289
An Interview with John Chamberlain 297
Keith Haring 314
Dale Chihuly as of 1993 317
What I Know about Photography 322
The Sixties: As They Were 337
Andy Warhol: Virginal Voyeur 357
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