Thursday, November 10, 2016

I'd put in a new post, but it's a perfect introduction to the post below. Even American historians have no sense of history. It's pathetic. "The American has got to destroy. It is his destiny"
Tocqueville was an adult, writing about children. And the children of those children produced more children.

Some images from The Vulgarians, by Robert Osborn, published in 1960. Full text and images available here.  I still have my parents' copy. It's moralizing, so childish too.

A paragraph from 2013 on Daniel Mendelsohn's review of Mad Men: Mendelsohn reminded me of graduates of Wellesley who were pissed off by Mona Lisa Smile (since Alfred Barr taught the first academic course on Modern Art at Wellesley in 1926), and my mother's contempt for Todd Haynes for Far From Heaven. Haynes doing his best to undermine the world of Ozzie and Harriet that only 6 year olds at the time confused with reality. Homosexuality and interracial sex? Of course.

Harriet Nelson started smoking at 13, and hung out at the Cotton Club

Since the summer of 2007, when Mad Men premiered on the cable station AMC, the world it purports to depict—a lushly reimagined Madison Avenue in the 1960s, where sleekly suited, chain-smoking, hard-drinking advertising executives dream up ingeniously intuitive campaigns for cigarettes and bras and airlines while effortlessly bedding beautiful young women or whisking their Grace Kelly–lookalike wives off to business trips in Rome—has itself become the object of a kind of madness.
His exchange with Molly Haskel is fun. Interesting to remember that Mendelsohn is a famously a fan of historical fiction. He must have written about his argument with James.

To the Editor:
Re "Young Ladies on the Verge of a Breakthrough" by Katha Pollitt [Dec. 21]:

I was a student at Wellesley during the period of "Mona Lisa Smile," studying art history and later becoming a professor of art. The film presents art classes at Wellesley in the 1950's as needing shaking up; in one scene the president of the college warns the Julia Roberts character, "A little less modern art, Miss Watson."

Quite ludicrous. Wellesley pioneered the study of modern art. Alfred H. Barr Jr., a professor of art at Wellesley in the 1920's, later became the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He introduced the Bauhaus to the public in a landmark exhibition at the Modern in 1938 — years after Wellesley women studied it. When I began to teach art history, I unearthed my Wellesley notebooks as a resource, and I have them here now. I am happy (but not surprised) to see that an entry for Jan. 27 — the year would have been 1953 or 1954 — shows Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky and Mark Tobey. Earlier sections on Picasso, Cézanne and van Gogh note assigned reading in Barr, Greenberg and The Partisan Review. We did not paint by the numbers, one of many unfortunate misrepresentations of Wellesley by this film.
related 11/20 Alfred Kazin in 1960: "Whatever Greenwich Village may once have been or may now be supposed to have been,..."

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