Recent links of note:
“Centre Pompidou to Open 237,000-Square-Foot ‘Art Factory’ in Paris Suburb”
Alex Greenberger, ARTnews
The Centre Pompidou unveiled plans this week for a massive multipurpose facility in the suburbs of Paris, affectionately dubbed a fabrique de l’art—an art factory—and set to open as soon as 2025. The complex, situated in the city of Massy just outside Paris, promises to be a self-sustaining art metropolis, comprising galleries, performance spaces, storage facilities, labs for conservation and restoration, and more. Since the Pompidou’s facilities within the city of Paris are themselves notorious for resembling an art factory, one wonders what form the new structure will take. It surely won’t be pedestrian.
“The Cigarette Review: No Smoking, Please”
Barton Swaim, The Wall Street Journal
One of the delightful and enduring images from The Cigarette: A Political History, aside from the book’s sleek cowboy-killer-inspired dust jacket, is that of the committee responsible for the damning 1964 Surgeon General’s report on the correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Of the ten experts engaged therewith, no fewer than five were inveterate smokers. When the panel met to labor and deliberate, we learn, “the air was thick with smoke and the table covered in papers and ashtrays”—an irony fit for our nation’s lengthy and complicated love affair with tobacco. With all the chips counted, a more pernicious pattern emerges: “Liberal government policies,” Barton Swaim explains—cigarette rations for soldiers, agricultural buybacks, and other such federal interventions—“first enabled the cigarette to prevail in American society, then targeted it for destruction.” Progress sustains itself somehow.
“Harold Bloom, the Falstaff of lit crit”
Dominic Green, Spectator USA
One presumes that, like his beloved Falstaff, Harold Bloom had heard the chimes at midnight. But it was highly uncharacteristic that he chose not to tell us about them before his death. Bloom left behind a voluminous and ranging legacy from the decades he spent as the most recognizable literary critic in America. He stands out as much for his prodigious memory and singular insight as for his intemperate bellowing and dubious fixations. Bloom was also accused, just like the literary paradigm of succession he posited in The Anxiety of Influence (1973), of perhaps misconstruing the student–teacher relationship. Nor have we been receptive in our pages to his penchant for prolixity. But Dominic Green, writing for Spectator USA, reminds us why Bloom should be remembered as much, if not more, for the critical position he embodied than for any particular criticism he wrote. For Bloom, the confessional enchantments of solitary reading, however unreliable and even paranoiac, provided the means by which one might gain access to the wisdom of the ages and of ourselves—no small claim in an age of scholarship dominated by masochism and beholden to situationism. Green concludes: “He got right the task of being Harold Bloom for his edification and entertainment as for ours.”
From our pages:
A restless Astor
by Stephen Schmalhofer
On the life of Winthrop Astor Chanler
Atticus & Tom
by Timothy Jacobson
On fallen idols.