Recent links of note:
“Irving Sandler, Art Historian Who Was Close to Artists, Dies at 92”
William Grimes, The New York Times
The respected art critic and historian Irving Sandler, 92, died Saturday in Manhattan. Based in New York throughout his life, Sandler was deeply involved in what was then a small but growing Abstract Expressionist movement as a gallerist, columnist, and professor. After discovering the work of Franz Kline in the Museum of Modern Art in 1952, Sandler interviewed and befriended the forerunning artists of the Downtown scene and used personal connections to supplement his rigorous formal criticism. His best-known book, The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism (1970), was widely influential for artists and collectors in the years following that movement’s apogee.
“In Memory of Isaiah Berlin”
Vladislav Davidzon, Tablet
Isaiah Berlin (1909–97), the political philosopher and historian, would have turned 109 years old this week, and his legacy continues as a formative influence on British political theory. Berlin, who as a child fled Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution, was an unwavering opponent of totalitarianism in any form. As a British-Russian Jew, he was also interested in pluralistic and often incendiary points of view on accepted historical narratives, as Three Critics of the Enlightenment, a devil’s advocate of a work that constructs an anti-rationalist canon, attests. He also inspired and mentored a generation of intellectuals with his broad interdisciplinary knowledge. Roger Scruton, in a New Criterion review of Berlin’s letters, called him a “brilliant outsider” who could “internationalize the debate” about British government with eloquence and insight. Tablet’s Vladislav Davidzon suggests that Berlin is an essential figure in an era of identity politics, racial tension, and class conflict: according to Berlin, nationalism and racism are “the most powerful movements in the world.” With the final installment of Berlin’s letters in 2017 and The Cambridge Companion to Isaiah Berlin scheduled to be published in September, now is the time to revisit this influential thinker.
“UVa Library’s Plan to Cut Stacks by Half Sparks Faculty Concerns”
Megan Zahneis, The Chronicle of Higher Education
A renovation of the University of Virginia’s main library building could do away with access to 40–70 percent of its most precious resource: its books. While Alderman library, built in 1937, requires an update for safety reasons, three professors and scholars submitted an appeal, signed by five hundred friends of the library, to amend the plans for renovations, saying that the current plan “would directly undermine our core mission as a nationally recognized research university.” These UVA professors fear the plan to shift print resources into storage elsewhere on campus will obstruct their students’ studies and their own. For more on this nationwide trend away from physical books, read Julia Friedman’s “The user-centric university.”
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