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« DVD Journal: "Youth Without Youth" | Main | Sex Relations »

August 25, 2008

Manny Farber, RIP

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I was very sorry to learn that the painter and film critic Manny Farber has died. He was 91. I loved his art (a few examples are here) and his criticism. The Wife and I spent a little time hanging out with Manny and his wife, the artist Patricia Patterson (they often wrote together), and I can report that I found him a lovable guy: spikey, difficult, and maybe even a little paranoid, but brainy, funny, and soulful too. There can't be many critics who made as big an impact on a medium with a single volume of writing as Manny did on movies with his legendary "Negative Space." But, as far as I could tell, his heart was really in painting. Half of him may have been a wisecracking, off-center, neurotic intellectual -- but his bigger half was a color-drunk west coast sensualist.

Some highlights from the press and the blogosphere:

In sadness,

Michael

posted by Michael at August 25, 2008




Comments

I shall mourn his passing. He belongs in the very select company of film critics whose writings will endure (Robert Warshow, Pauline Kael ... who else?).

Posted by: Lester Hunt on August 25, 2008 12:41 PM



Very very sad. He was one of the greats. He's one of the only critics I know of who could be both a grumpy curmudgeon and be extremely hip at the same time. Amazingly enough, as you said Michael, he was a greater painter than he was a critic. That craftsman-like tone to his writing, that fun meticulousness, is becming harder and harder to find these days.

Posted by: David Brown on August 25, 2008 1:40 PM



What a great eye the guy had also. His paintings, like his writing, was beautifully cluttered. That's the quality that we are missing today in criticism.

Posted by: David Brown on August 25, 2008 1:42 PM



Never heard of him till this post. Should I be ashamed? Anyhow, took a look at several images of Farber's work via google. Appears to be an ongoing tension between his love of color and his love of scribbling: that's what his details - floating on or embedded in color fields - are: scribbles, a kind of writing. I don't particularly like uncode-my-coded-meaning paintings (Picasso did a lot of that) but Farber has a nice touch with the brush and his colors are lush.

Posted by: ricpic on August 25, 2008 2:13 PM






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