Enfilade

The Burlington Magazine, March 2013

Posted in books, journal articles, reviews by Editor on March 31, 2013

The eighteenth century in The Burlington:

The Burlington Magazine 155 (March 2013)

E D I T O R I A L

cover• “Mind Your Language,” p. 151. The incorrect and exaggerated use of language in the art press.

. . . A recent article in the Guardian [Andy Beckett, “A User’s Guide to Artspeak,” The Guardian (27 January 2013)] reported on a private initiative by two Americans, an artist and a critic/sociologist, who have investigated the language of contemporary art description, culled from wall labels and gallery press releases from 1999 onwards [David Levine and Alix Rule, “International Art English,” Triple Canopy 16 (July 2012)]. Their survey is analytic rather than satiric, and they trace the origins of what they call ‘International Art English’ to much French post- structuralist theory. They make excellent, deadpan fun of the commercial gallery press release which now goes well beyond its earlier professional constituency to reach a broad emailed audience. At the Burlington, where we receive thousands of such releases each year from many countries, we can testify to the universality of this artspeak obscurantism. But even in the more comprehensible releases, for exhibitions or books, the clichés mount up: the works are ‘brand new’; the exhibits are ‘iconic’; the paintings are ‘vibrant’ (and also, of course, ‘masterful’); the artist is never less than ‘award winning’; and the new book (invariably a ‘comprehensive overview’) is ‘groundbreaking’, ‘lavishly illustrated’ and ‘thought-provoking’. These all accumulate into a prose of deadly conformity. . . Keep reading here»

A R T I C L E S

• Perrin Stein, “Greuze’s L’Accordée de Village: A Rediscovered Première Pensée,” pp. 162-66. The rediscovery of a watercolour study (c.1761) of Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s L’Accordée de Village.

R E V I E W S

• Antony Griffiths, Review of Ad Stijnman, Engraving and Etching 1400–2000: A History of the Development of Manual Intaglio Printmaking Processes (London: Archetype Books, 2012), p. 177.

This monument book is  the result of twenty-five years’ work on the part of the author who has produced a text far ahead of anything yet written on this aspect of printmaking. . . His conclusions have an authority that immediately makes this a standard work, and it can confidently be recommended to any reader. . .

• Claudia Nordhoff, Review of the exhibition Johann Christian Reinhart (1761–1847): Ein deutscher Landschaftsmaler in Rom,” pp. 199-200.

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