Tagged: Helen

Alexander Nemerov’s biography of artist Helen Frankenthaler finds transcendent value in her work

The Frankenthaler portrayed in art historian Alexander Nemerov’s biography “Fierce Poise” (publishing Monday by Penguin Press) comes from a world that we now find in many ways incomprehensible. It is an age held in disrepute, in which male artists behaved abominably to women and to each other; in which alcohol and drugs weren’t just the lubricant of social discourse but a substrate in which civilized norms were regularly dissolved. Greenberg is now seen not as a greatly talented and greatly flawed intellectual but simply as an ogre, the embodiment of criticism as gatekeeping, the mansplainer in chief of abstract expressionism,

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‘Fierce Poise’ Review: A Splash of Helen Frankenthaler

The art historian Alexander Nemerov is a seductive writer. While his colleagues labor over bulky manuscripts weighed down with extensive footnotes, Mr. Nemerov, who teaches at Stanford, approaches his chosen subject, American art and culture from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, with an essayist’s craft (and maybe craftiness). He’s a great believer in the curated fragment, the revelatory glimpse. He likes to look closely at a few select objects (often photographs) and reveal their panoramic implications. Some of the books that he’s written over the past 15 or so years (“Wartime Kiss,” “Summoning Pearl Harbor,” “Icons of Grief”) amount … Read More