In March, The Penguin Press published "Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York," a book by Alexander Nemerov. Nemerov is the 57-year-old art history professor who teaches at Stanford, and who this past winter contributed an essay to the catalogue for the "Core" paintings of Jules Olitski at Yares (see my post of February 10 below)
"Fierce Poise" has been very favorably received, to judge from the many excerpts from reviews posted at the Penguin website. However, as we all know, excerpts don't necessarily tell the whole story. Therefore I will withhold judgment on this book until I've been able to read it thoroughly and evaluate it for myself.
I don't mind saying that – on the basis of what I've read in it so far – it has aroused very mixed emotions in me. In hopes of getting them into order, I will try to bring a properly scholarly detachment to this undertaking (while still remaining clear and relevant to the contemporary reader).
Present plans call for me to review the book for The Independent Scholar. TIS is a peer-reviewed online journal published by the National Coalition of Independent Scholars, a small but very worthwhile organization to which I have belonged for many years. As TIS is open access, all of FMD's readers will be able to read my review there, too. And I will certainly post a notice in FMD when it goes online.