Monthly Archives: March 2009

Hoberman in French & in English


It’s very good to have a selection of J. Hoberman’s film criticism finally available in French translation, so Emmanuel Burdeau should be commended for bringing out a French edition of Hoberman’s most recent (2003) collection, moderately priced at 14 Euros and translated by Marie Mathilde Burdeau, in his film book series published by Capricci (which has also published the wonderful Les Aventures de Harry Dickson —one of the first things I wrote about on this website). The only thing that gives me pause is that only 16 of Hoberman’s articles have been included in the French edition, leaving roughly 50 other pieces in the same book untranslated and unacknowledged in any way. (More precisely, this French edition includes only 14 of the 66 separate items in the original, though it adds two others.) This must be a reflection of the ongoing recession on both sides of the Atlantic—even if Hoberman’s given name has been upgraded in French from J. to Jim. [3/31/09] Read more

Correction of Previous Post

Hi Jon,
The photo is mine, provided years ago to Alabama Public Television when they were shooting “Rosenbaum House in Alabama” and to Debbie Wilson, who runs the Florence tourism promotion office. PBS picked it up when they did their FLLW series in 1999. The photo (yes, it is chez Rosenbaum) has been on the web in reverse since October 13, 1999. As in this instance, you can sometimes check the provenance of a website through the Wayback Machine ( http://web.archive.org). I never bothered to write to correct the error of the left to right reversal.

Love,
Alvin

P.S. A much better item on the PBS website is FLW’s rendering of the house. Find it at http://web.archive.org/web/20041229231416/www.pbs.org/flw/buildings/usonia/usonia.html
A

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Stanley Rosenbaum Residence: The Dream Version

Cruising on the Internet, I just accessed on the PBS website a photograph that purports to be an exterior view of the Usonian house that I grew up in, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, in Florence, Alabama. I got there by following a link on the Wikipedia entry for “Stanley Rosenbaum Residence”—an entry that incidentally includes an accurate view of the exterior, reproduced directly below:

I know my memory isn’t playing tricks on me—not only because I know the house by heart, after living there for the first 16 years of my life, but also because I visited it quite recently, earlier this month. The first photograph is clearly the exterior of another, albeit quite similar, Wright house, and I’m sorry that I’m not enough of a Wright expert (as my brother Alvin is) to be able to identify it precisely. If you look closely at the row of glass doors on the left in the second photograph, you can barely see the thin line of a stone terrace just underneath them that is remarkably similar to the one seen much more clearly in the top photograph that juts to the right in a diagonal line and then ends, with three steps just below it. Read more

Recommended Reading: THE INVISIBLE DRAGON, revised & expanded edition

THE INVISIBLE DRAGON: ESSAYS ON BEAUTY (revised and expanded edition) by Dave Hickey (Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press), 2009, 123 pp.

Fellow fans of art critic Dave Hickey should be alerted to the fact that an extensively upgraded edition of his 1993 book The Invisible Dragon has recently appeared that seems to be almost twice as long as its predecessor, with a new introduction and an additional essay, “American Beauty,” that’s considerably longer (over 50 pages) than any of the four essays in the first edition. Even if you find the new introduction, written entirely in the third person, a mite off-putting, the new essay reaffirms Hickey as a major critical voice and terrific prose stylist. I’m not sufficiently well-versed in art history to be able to judge it confidently on those terms, but the erudition on display is pretty daunting, to say the least.

I discovered Hickey thanks to film scholar Dudley Andrew through Hickey’s extraordinary 1997 collection Air Guitar (see below) a radically populist and semiautobiographical look at pop culture that remains a particular favorite–although I subsequently bought Hickey’s two collections of short stories, the 1989 Prior Convictions and the 1999 Stardumb, that I’m still intending to read. Read more