Leo Steinberg’s classic Other Criteria comprises eighteen essays on topics ranging from “Contemporary Art and the Plight of Its Public” and the “flatbed picture plane” to reflections on Picasso, Rauschenberg, Rodin, de Kooning, Pollock, Guston, and Jasper Johns. The latter, which Francine du Plessix Gray called “a tour de force of critical method,” is widely regarded as the most eye-opening analysis of the Johns’s work ever written. This edition includes a new preface and a handful of additional illustrations.
“The art book of the year, if not of the decade and possibly of the century. . . .The significance of this volume lies not so much in the quality of its insights—although the quality is very high and the insights are important—as in the richness, precision, and elegance of its style. . . . A meeting with the mind of Leo Steinberg is one of the most enlightening experiences that contemporary criticism affords.”
—Alfred Frankenstein, Art News
“Not only one of the most lucid and independent minds among art critics, but a profound one.”—Robert Motherwell
This comprehensive view of the Orpheus myth in modern art focuses on an extremely rich artistic symbol and cuts through all the clichés to explore truly significant problems of meaning. The author takes a new approach to the iconography of major modern artists by incorporating psychological and literary analysis, as well as biography.
The three parts of the book explore the ways in which artists have identified with different aspects of the often paradoxical Orpheus myth. The first deals with artists such as Paul Klee, Carl Milles, and Barbara Hepworth. In the second, Max Beckmann, Oskar Kokoschka, and Isamu Noguchi are discussed. Artists examined in the final part include Pablo Picasso, Jacques Lipchitz, Ethel Schwabacher, and Cy Twombly. The author documents her argument with more than sixty illustrations.