No one writes letters anymore, but I still like reading them — especially when both sides of a correspondence are collected between two covers. No narrative, no argument — just the mercurial yet implicit unity of a relationship. Still, I’m not sure why I picked up this book. Certainly I wanted to know more about the author of The Human Condition and The Origins of Totaliterianism, but there are so many proper books of Arendt’s I have yet to read that I probably should have waited before delving into the margins of her oeuvre. By contrast, I’ve never given a thought to Mary McCarthy. Do people still read her? No one ever mentions her books to me. But now I’m as glad to have made her acquaintance — though in the letters of the 1950s, I have to admit, I find both women often unsympathetic: too much the snobby, old-fashioned intellectuals, full of superiority to whatever is deemed insufficiently serious. I kept longing for the arrival of the ’60s and a new kind of intellectual, someone like the young Susan Sontag with her love of rock and roll and of the ostensibly unserious culture of camp. Well, these two never became rock-and-rollers, but the social and political turmoil of the ’60s and ’70s really did shake up their judgments and sharpen their perceptions. Surprisingly, the turbulence and confusion of that time, at least as refracted through their responses, seems very much like our own. I wish I could read their dissection of Hillary vs Bernie. And how scathing they would be about Europe’s response to the refugee crisis! Of course there’s plenty of gossip, too, and while I’ve never cared too much about the ins and outs of all those Rahvs and Macdonalds, there are some striking moments — I’m sure I’ll not soon cleanse my imagination of the image of a sloshed W.H. Auden, “looking so much like a clochard that the doorman came with him, fearful that he might be God knows what,” proposing himself to Arendt as suitable remarriage material immediately upon the death of her husband, Heinrich Blücher, in 1970. And foreshadowings a novelist could hardly get away with: “I am half toying with the idea to get some magazine to send me to cover the Eichmann trial,” writes Arendt in June, 1960. Good idea, but watch out for the blowback! My only complaint about the book: dodgy annotation — things like mistaking a passing 1968 reference to Solzhenitsyn’s novel The First Circle for one to The Gulag Archipelago (which was only published five years later), or confusing Critique, the French journal founded by Georges Bataille, with the American academic journal then called Critique: Studies in Modern Fiction (in the meantime, like so many things, it’s become “Contemporary” rather than “Modern”). But collecting quibbles can be pleasurable too.
Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy 1949–1975, ed. by Carol Brightman, was published in 1995 by Harcourt Brace and is now out of print.
“Our bodies are not that cheap,” said one Iraqi artist who signed an open letter to the biennale’s curators.
Museums will have to install “prominently placed” placards alongside the works, according to a new suite of laws signed by Governor Kathy Hochul.
Choose from over 140 courses for adults and youth ages 13 to 17, including options for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. Enroll by August 23 for an early bird discount.
Scientists borrowed the ecological “unseen species” model to estimate how many works of medieval European literature have gone extinct.
As bodily autonomy and workers’ rights remain under constant and often intertwined threat, The Work of Love, the Queer of Labor reminds us of what is still at stake.
The Brooklyn organization is now accepting new project inquiries for its fee-based fabrication services in printmaking, ceramics, and large-scale public art.
The emphasis in Semmel’s retrospective Skin in the Game is on the various points of view she has taken on herself — and, briefly, on others too.
The artist and former SWAIA chief operating officer and executive director has found a stable of dedicated collectors and a close-knit community at Santa Fe Indian Market.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
Each voice in This Long Thread intersects to reveal the collective chronicles, struggles, and triumphs of women of color in today’s craft landscape.
Works by the Abeyta family of artists encourage thinking beyond activism and legislation as a means for political progress.
Despite faithfully recreating the story of the beloved comic book series, the TV show lacks the verve of the original.