In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« 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,


posted by Michael at August 25, 2008


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

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?