“It so pisses me off.”
On a Friday afternoon earlier this month, Deborah Solomon was reclining on a sofa in her Upper West Side apartment complaining about the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For years, she has been telling the Met to hang one of its Norman Rockwells, a 1943 study for his classic Freedom of Speech, which shows a lone man rising to speak in a crowded room (“It’s a good one!”), but they are not so eager to accommodate her request. “Every time I see Tom Campbell, he runs away from me,” she said, speaking of the museum’s director.
Rockwell and his perky scenes of Boy Scout-approved living have been deeply unfashionable with most curators and critics for decades, but Ms. Solomon makes a valiant case for him in a new biography, American Mirror, just published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She positions him as a progenitor of Pop Art and photorealism and finds quite a bit of darkness in his work and his life. It’s Ms. Solomon’s third book and arrives just as she is returning to work as a practicing art critic (“my spiritual or intellectual home”), on WNYC. It took more than a decade to finish, a stretch prolonged by her not-uncontroversial reign as the “Questions For” columnist at The New York Times Magazine from 2003 to 2011.
The Last Critic
I had something unpleasant happen to me in October. I met an old friend for lunch. Let’s call him Alan. I hadn’t seen Alan for years, not since we were the only male members of the Mahjong team in college. One day he popped up on my Facebook page, asking to friend me. I friended Read More
When we last mentioned New York Times scribe Deborah Solomon, her reputation as an interview master was being tested. The staff of the 92nd Street Y decided that her discussion with actor Steve Martin did not touch upon his film career to an appropriate extent, and therefore a refund would be extended to all Read More
Memories, Gourmet Live
This morning former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl remembered the one-year anniversary of the day her magazine closed. “Foggy, melancholy morning,” she wrote on Twitter. “Gourmet’s end one year today. Fat fluffy pancakes, drizzled maple syrup, crisp smoky Benton’s bacon. Full.”
Last year around this time, Ms. Reichl gave a few interviews to Read More
In the coming New York Times Magazine, interrogator Deborah Solomon asks Ron Burkle a few questions.
About David Geffen’s revolt against Hillary:
“… I have known David for a long time. David is very aggressive in his comments and very aggressive in his thoughts on everything.”
About whether Al Gore should run (and, remember, this Read More
The shoe being on the other foot, Tim Russert of NBC took the opportunity of being interviewed by Brian Lamb on Washington Journal this morning to complain about an interview of him that the Times Magazine ran on Mother’s Day. Russert said that reporter Deborah Solomon merged answers to different Read More
Dear Reader: Have you ever wondered when, exactly, what we call “contemporary art” began? Forgive me if this sounds like a foolish question. Like myself, you have probably not given much thought to assigning a specific date to what is generally said to be new art, or to art that was recently new and, for Read More