Recent links of note:
David Pryce-Jones, Standpoint
The Hungarian-British writer Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon (1940) began the “intellectual discrediting of communism” decades before Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. David Pryce-Jones was a young fan of Koestler’s who became a friend and fellow journalist. “He sniffs the air with animal cleverness. He makes me think of an otter, trim, the coat in tip-top condition,” Pryce-Jones wrote in his diary while the two were covering the Cold War showdown that was the 1972 Spassky–Fischer chess match. Koestler’s was a life “governed by deep and admirable rage against the infamy of the times” that ended in tragedy in 1983, when Koestler and his wife committed suicide after his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and terminal leukemia. Pryce-Jones remembers his friend in a moving tribute in this month’s Standpoint.
“Mary Boone’s Manhattan galleries will close in April following her jail-time sentencing for tax fraud”
Margaret Carrigan, The Art Newspaper
Mary Boone, a Manhattan art dealer since the 1970s who has been called the “queen of the art scene,” lost both her title and her two eponymous galleries when she was sentenced in February to thirty months in prison for tax fraud. Boone’s is one of the longest sentences for a tax case in recent years. Boone risibly defended herself with claims of alcoholism, drug abuse, and anxiety. But that was viewed by the judge as a poor excuse for defrauding the government of more than $3 million in unpaid taxes. Her galleries will follow their planned exhibition schedules through March and April before closing shortly in advance of Boone’s prison sentence, which begins in mid-May.
“What I want from modern architecture”
Roger Scruton, Spectator USA
In a time when so many new buildings look like spaceships or prisons, Roger Scruton lays out a blueprint of what he expects from architecture. Scruton, the new chair of the British government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful commission, believes that the “style wars” of the twentieth century—the “historicists” versus the modernists—have not gotten to the foundations of the problem. “Aesthetic judgment is rooted in the sense of neighborhood,” Scruton writes; architecture should be welcoming and functional while also giving people a sense of the history of the places where they live, work, and spend their leisure time. For more on Scruton, look for Daniel J. Mahoney’s review of his latest collection of short stories, Souls in the Twilight, in our April issue.
“Jerry Saltz, New York’s Wonderfully Provocative Art Critic”
Mathew Silver, Medium
“I have a Jerry Saltz problem,” Saltz responds to James Panero’s 2010 New Criterion essay, My Jerry Saltz problem, about the popular critic and Pulitzer Prize-winner. “I, too, can’t believe me sometimes,” says Saltz, whose robust and occasionally controversial social media presence and everyman approach to art have made him the subject of recent debates over the role of the critic. Mathew Silver profiles Saltz for Medium.
From our pages
“The consolations of fantasy”