Here are some gems gleaned from my recent voyages into cyberspace:
– Mr. Modern Art Notes holds forth on the genius of Richard Diebenkorn, making an important point in passing:
A few weeks ago I was chatting with a chief curator about a Richard Diebenkorn painting in one of his galleries. “You know,” I said. “It’s remarkable that there’s never been a full, comprehensive Ocean Park survey exhibit.”
The curator paused. “Are you sure about that?” he said, less asking than implying I should double-check Diebenkorn’s exhibition history.
“Completely sure,” I said. “There’s never been a Berkeley show either. It’s bizarre. It’s probably the contemporary art show most in need of being done.”
The curator was still disbelieving, but allowed me my fervor. It’s true. There’s never been a museum (or gallery, for that matter) exhibit surveying the paintings, the drawings, the paintings-on-paper, or the three together….
Or, I might add, the related prints. You won’t find one in the Teachout Museum, alas–I haven’t got that kind of money to throw around–but I am the proud owner of an etching by Diebenkorn, who would be universally acknowledged as one of the greatest American artists of the twentieth century had he not made the fatal mistake of living and working in California. Even now, far too many New Yorkers suffer from the wildly mistaken notion that the West Coast is an aesthetic desert. I don’t know where they picked it up–probably from Woody Allen.
– Speaking of the West Coast, Mr. Anecdotal Evidence serves up the best capsule description of Raymond Chandler’s special gifts I’ve read, my own feeble attempts included. Here’s part of it:
Chandler’s literary conscience was bothered by the genre in which he had chosen to work. Part of him wished to write “heavy novels.” We can be grateful he never did, because the hard-boiled detective story enabled him to indulge his strengths, minimize or ignore his weaknesses and create great books that continue to give dependable pleasure to readers. “All of which is to say that gusto thrives on freedom, and freedom in art, as in life, is the result of a discipline imposed by ourselves,” as Marianne Moore once wrote in a very different context….
Read the whole thing. It won’t take long.
– The Little Professor has sailed off the deep end:
It’s official: I share the house with six thousand books…
Alas, I have also exhausted my supply of downstairs walls. (As I live in a Cape Cod, upstairs walls are in somewhat short supply. Or, rather, the upstairs walls are both short and in short supply.) My parents have already suggested building stacks–not to mention another room–but I think that there may be other, more creative, alternatives….
I especially like her idea for “floating, inflatable bookcases,” which reminds me of my favorite line from Mark Helprin’s Memoir from Antproof Case: “I had had wonderful ideas all my life–the antigravity box, the camel ranch in Idaho, artillery mail–but I had never been able to translate them into reality.”
– Why aren’t blogbooks selling? Brenda Coulter, a romance novelist who blogs on the side, offers some sensible observations, accompanied by this amusing aside:
Publishers haven’t been offering big-name bloggers contracts for novels. And rightly so, because wit and erudition on a blog aren’t reliable indicators of talent for fiction-writing….I’m an effusive admirer of Terry Teachout’s writing. But even this fangirl doesn’t assume he’d make a brilliant novelist. For all I know, he’d stink at fiction.
Alas, I would and do, as I confessed in this space two years ago.
– Ms. Light Reading draws a distinction:
In English English clever seems to be a clearer term of praise, for something like what Americans would just call “smart,” but often when I use “clever” it is not a compliment….
– Mr. Jerry Jazz Musician asked a cast of very interesting characters, including Ahmad Jamal, Roger Kellaway, John Pizzarelli, and Nancy Wilson, to name “the five greatest albums (LP or CD) of all time.” The answers he got are–to put it mildly–illuminating.
– By way of Ms. Althouse, here’s Alice Cooper on politics:
“You won’t find any political songs, excepted for