2013年7月31日 星期三

Natalie de Blois's buildings survive. Beautifully. 1921-2013

Building Blocks

An Architect Whose Work Stood Out, Even if She Didn’t

Demetrius Freeman/The New York Times
Natalie de Blois helped guide the design of buildings like the Lever House, whose suave steel-and-glass facades still exude the cool confidence of postwar Park Avenue.

In architecture’s “Mad Men” era, there was a woman.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Ms. de Blois, a senior designer at the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, was the hidden hand behind a number of modernist buildings in New York. 

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
The former Union Carbide headquarters, the tall tower at center, was another of Ms. de Blois works. 

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
The Pepsi-Cola headquarters. 

Almost invisibly in her own day, Natalie de Blois, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, helped guide the design of three of the most important corporate landmarks of the 1950s and ‘60s — the headquarters of Lever Brothers, Pepsi-Cola and Union Carbide — whose suave steel-and-glass facades still exude the cool confidence of postwar Park Avenue.
“There wasn’t anybody in the country quite like Natalie, because there was no one else working for a firm quite like Skidmore,” said Beverly Willis, the founder and chairwoman of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation in New York, which seeks to raise the general consciousness about the role of women in the building industry. 

“At that point, there were only five or six women across the U.S. who had a substantial architectural practice,” Ms. Willis said. “And, of course, Natalie was doing bigger buildings, and she was doing them in the heart of Manhattan. These were celebrated buildings that the press fawned over, but Natalie’s name was never mentioned.” 

Gordon Bunshaft was the Skidmore partner whose name is most closely associated with the Union Carbide Corporation Headquarters of 1960, 270 Park Avenue, now the headquarters of JPMorgan Chase & Company; Lever House of 1952, 390 Park Avenue; and the former Pepsi-Cola Corporation World Headquarters of 1960, 500 Park Avenue.
“Natalie and Gordon Bunshaft were a team,” Ms. Willis said. “He took all the credit and she did all the work.” 

Debates can always be had about the provenance of almost any significant architectural project, particularly one coming out of an office as large and collaborative as Skidmore (where my father was a partner until his death in 1973). No one person can ever wholly claim credit. 

But there is little doubt that Ms. de Blois, who died last week, was long denied her due. That was acknowledged 40 years ago by Nathaniel A. Owings, a founding partner of the firm, in his autobiography, “The Spaces In Between: An Architect’s Journey.”
Of Ms. de Blois, he wrote: “Her mind and hands worked marvels in design — and only she and God would ever know just how many great solutions, with the imprimatur of one of the male heroes of S.O.M., owed much more to her than was attributed by either S.O.M. or the client.” 

God knew she was often slighted. 

Just before a meeting about the International Arrivals Building planned at Idlewild Airport (now Kennedy International), Mr. Bunshaft looked at Ms. de Blois and said: “You can’t come to the meeting unless you go home first and change your clothes. I don’t like green.” Ms. de Blois did just that, she recalled in a 2004 interview in the S.O.M. Journal.
Ms. de Blois was pregnant with the third of her four sons — Frank, Robert, Patrick and Nicholas — when she was invited to the opening of the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company Headquarters in Bloomfield, Conn., on which she had worked. “You know,” Mr. Bunshaft said, “don’t come to the opening if you haven’t had that baby yet.” 

Perhaps she persevered in the face of such treatment because construction ran in her blood. She was born on April 2, 1921, in Paterson, N.J. Her father, an engineer like his father and his father’s father, encouraged his daughter when she dreamed of becoming an architect. 

After she received an architecture degree from Columbia University in 1944, Ms. de Blois began working at a small firm on East 57th Street. When she resisted a colleague’s romantic advances, she was let go because he said he couldn’t concentrate with her around. But her boss did her a favor: he introduced her to Louis Skidmore, whose office was downstairs. 

Mr. Skidmore hired her. She practiced in New York until the early 1960s, when she moved to Skidmore’s Chicago office, where she was made an associate partner. Over time, her portfolio included the Terrace Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, the Hilton Hotel in Istanbul and the Equitable Building in Chicago. She left the firm in 1974, having never been elevated to full partnership. 

By then, however, her reputation had begun to catch up with her achievements.
“When I was a young architect in the ‘70s and ‘80s, there weren’t that many older women architects who had worked on a scale other than domestic,” said Sara Caples, a principal in Caples Jefferson Architects in Long Island City, Queens. “It was definitely encouraging to know that was out there.” 

The more she learned, Ms. Caples said, the more she appreciated the fact that Ms. de Blois was not simply a female architect, but a good one. 

“She was a designer who was a great practitioner of lightness in architecture,” Ms. Caples said, “with an elegant sense of proportion.” 

Ms. de Blois died on July 22 in Chicago, at 92. 

Her buildings survive. Beautifully.

2013年7月30日 星期二

紀念亨利.摩爾 Henry Moore

Kuo Wei Wu 分享了 Rijksmuseum相片
Rijks Summer! Today, you’ll hear a cheerful 'Happy Birthday' around all of Henry Moore’s sculptures. He was born 115 years ago today. He decided to become a sculptor when he was just eleven years old, after hearing a story about Michelangelo. At Sunday school. http://bit.ly/17sVzEn

Henry Moore - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry Spencer Moore OM CH FBA RBS (30 July 1898 – 31 August 1986) was an English sculptor and artist. He was best known for his semi-abstract ...


1998年是大藝術家亨利摩爾(Henry Moore, 1898-1986)的百年 紀念。我九月從網站(他的基金會Henry Moore Foundation)知道,就想寫篇《向亨利摩爾致敬》。現在是十月了,十月國家慶典特多,就先談點兩岸三地與亨利摩爾。這些都只是個人的一些印象。
 台灣的藝術家出版社所謂的《享利摩爾全集》,有點胡說八道,也顯示編輯的無知及不敬業。此書實在太離譜 光是他的雕塑就有千件 更不要談他60年的素描無數.....他的雕塑品總數約1000件,而每一件都有數版本,所以估計現在世界上約有6000件他的雕塑品問市。
台北的中國信託公司總部有一座小小的摩爾的雕作,被警衛保護著(公開陳列,我(90年代初偶而會去敦化北路總公司一定去對面看看並向它說hello。)私人如誠品書店的創始人,應也有其作品 誠品老闆似乎也有/ 我們這list的陳先生家族有一套他的 plaster maquettes (這是Moore  用來構思的模型 ,實際再放大百千倍..... Henry Moore: Plasters幾年前春節,曾在台中的建設公司展覽過.... 朱銘美術館裡收藏有Henry Moore的作品(待查證) ,而中國大陸大概沒他的作品。不過,翻譯相關的書較勤。

香港由於與英國關係密切,不只辦過他的展,在渡輪車站附近,還有其作品孤獨地立在花木之中,往來行人也很少投目。2003年我引導Bruce Lee去看它,隔年 他送一篇給我們的論壇,呼籲台灣人應張開眼看看香港的許多進步和文化,他說,以前也是這種井底之蛙(多虧「鍾老師」屢次提醒每回去香港,不要忘記去看看Henry Moore的雕像,買買《明報(或信報)月刊》,或《詩網絡》,到文化中心去風流,上館子打牙祭。我們以前從羅孚進香港幾次,該站總讓我覺得彷彿歷經但丁《神曲》中的感受……

摩爾是很典型的英國人,如果你看過他的家鄉景物,以及大英博物館內和他家中的古今各種奇怪的收藏藝品和雕塑作品,了解影響他極大的來源,再看看他的作品全集,不能不佩服藝術家的鬼斧神工奧妙無窮 《雄獅美術》259期,19929月號,橫用版頁25-26,有雨云介紹的,巴黎《溫馨的亨利.摩爾展》,完全複製其家園(客廰、圖書室、工作場、臥室等等)。該期的圖片是他的家庭客廳。20127: Henry Moore at Perry Green  Treasured Lynx Sculpture Returns to Artist's Home

我一生最難忘的一次藝術體驗,就是摩爾1978年在倫敦的金士頓公園Kensington Gardens的大展覽,這是他的八十大壽的紀念。大型公園戶外雕塑展 令人驚心動魄 (Henry Moore: Late Large Forms)……他那時每年繳給政府的稅近一億台幣....1980年,他將其中的一巨作The Arch捐給官方放在該公園永久展。不過,這公共藝術品在過去30年發生一些結構的修復問題、請參考該基金會的網頁http://www.henry-moore.org/hmf/press/press-information/henry-moore/the-arch-restored-to-london-site


觀賞摩爾的作品,不禁讓我想起J. MiltonParadize Regained的名句:

Aim therefore at no less than all the world,
Aim at the Highest…

(此文增益1998年的網路文章 www.deming.com.tw)

現在距1998年已近14年了。相關的資料暴增很多。我想可先看看WikipediA 的簡介Henry Moore - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Henry Moore的簡傳可參考Brief Lives ( Edited by Collin Mathew, Oxford:OUP,  1999, pp.387-92)

 The Henry Moore Foundation was established by Moore in 1977, and is now one of the UK's leading arts charities.
相關書目和書信等:  http://www.henry-moore.org/pg/archive
《觀念、靈感,生活──享利摩爾自傳》曹源譯 北京:人民美術
Philip James (editor) “Henry Moore on Sculpture” DA CAPO Press.

2013年7月29日 星期一

A Documentary by Teller Explores the Magic of Vermeer

July 29, 2013, 12:30 pm

A Documentary by Teller Explores the Magic of Vermeer

“Girl With a Pearl Earring,” one of Vermeer's most famous works.Mauritshuis, The Hague “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” one of Vermeer’s most famous works.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, and Teller, the nonspeaking partner in the illusionist team of Penn & Teller, is a man of few. Still, he’s interested enough in pictures, paintings and the creation of fine art that he has made them the subject of a new documentary, “Tim’s Vermeer,” that has been acquired for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics.

On Monday, Sony Pictures Classics said it had picked up the worldwide rights to “Tim’s Vermeer,” a nonfiction film that is directed by Teller and that chronicles Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor who explores how Jan Vermeer created his photo-realistic paintings in the 1600s, a century and a half before photography was invented.

In a decade-long exploration, Mr. Jenison travels to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted, and meets with the British artist David Hockney, who has made his own inquiries into how Vermeer and other master painters created their works. Ultimately, Mr. Jenison’s project “succeeds as he uses 17th-century technology — lenses and mirrors — to develop a technique that might have been used by Vermeer, supporting a theory as extraordinary as what he discovers,” Sony Pictures Classics said in a news release.

Penn Jillette, the more verbal performing partner of Teller, explained the origins of the film in a statement. “My buddy, Tim Jenison, told me over supper he was going to try to paint a Vermeer,” Mr. Jillette said. “Tim is a genius, but I’m a skeptic. I wanted to see him do it. Teller has been the Penn & Teller de facto director since our beginnings, so we made a movie of Tim’s whole monomaniacal trip. Having Sony Pictures Classics as the first words on the screen means it’s more than just a couple of Vegas magicians and an eccentric inventor in his garage. Now it’s a real film that will change the history of art.”

Sony Pictures Classics said it will release “Tim’s Vermeer” next year.

2013年7月28日 星期日

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art by James Hall《西洋藝術事典》

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art by James Hall

1974初版1980年四版 Sir Kenneth Clark 序

《西洋藝術事典》廣東人民出版社1990  此翻譯書依中文發音排序. 很不方便

Front Cover
Perseus-Westview Books, 2008 - Art - 364 pages
The understanding and enjoyment of a work of art depends as much on the story it depicts as on the artist's execution of it. But what were once biblical or classical commonplaces are not so readily recognizable today. This book relates in a succinct and readable way the themes, sacred and secular, on which the repertoire of Western art is based.Here in a single volume are combined religious, classical, and historical themes, the figures of moral allegory, and characters from romantic poetry that established themselves through paintings and sculpture in Western art before and after the Renaissance. More than just a dictionary, this text places these subjects in their narrative, historical, or mythological context and uses extensive cross-referencing to enhance and clarify the meanings of these themes for the reader. The definitive work by which others are compared, this volume has become an indispensable handbook for students and general art appreciators alike. This wholly redesigned second edition includes a new insert of images chosen by the author, as well as a new preface and index to highlight the ideas, beliefs, and social and religious customs that form the background of much of this subject matter.

在西方頭顱骨(skull他們從中世紀才有這樣死神代表物說法17世紀的墓葬雕塑有時用骷髏skeleton代之) 的冥想無常為主譬如說耶蘇會的神修代表老年肖像畫中的它表示虔敬……四種氣質中代表憂鬱」。

2013年7月20日 星期六

J-Architect (NHK)



A Japanese architect's latest work is examined in ideas, technologies and designs to elucidate the key to J-architects' rising global recognition.
Thu. 1:30 - 2:00 (UTC)

Thu. 5:30 / 9:30 / 13:30 / 17:30 / 21:30 (UTC) * broadcast every last Thursday of the month


Jul. 25, Thu.
Sou Fujimoto
Visionary architect Sou Fujimoto creates surprising new buildings. Born in 1971, the University of Tokyo graduate established his practice in 2000. He is the recipient of numerous international awards, including the AR's Emerging Architecture Prize and Rice Design Alliance's Spotlight Prize. He's also the frontrunner at global design competitions. In 2013, he was appointed designer of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Fujimoto's innovative architecture inhabits a space between nature and artificiality. We focus on one of the most important architects coming to prominence worldwide.


Jun. 27, Thu.
Shuhei Endo

Shuhei Endo uses materials boldly and creates buildings that are full of surprises. Born in Shiga Prefecture in 1960. Graduated from the Graduate School of Kyoto City University of Arts in 1986. He established the Shuhei Endo Architect Institute in 1988. His 1998 work "Springtecture H" is made of corrugated steel plates presented in a spiral shape and it is renowned as one of the most famous bathrooms in the world. He has won many international awards such as the "Arcasia Award for Architecture Gold Medal" and the "9th Venice Biennale Special Award".
  • Looptecture F
  • Springtecture H
  • Slowtecture M
  • Looptecture A

Previous Shows

2013年7月18日 星期四

Robert Hughes, Art Critic , The Shock of the New, The New Shock of the New

Robert Hughes, Art Critic Whose Writing Was Elegant and Contentious, Dies at 74
With a Hemingwayesque build and the distinctively rounded vowels of his native Australia, Mr. Hughes became as familiar a presence on television as he was in print.

Robert Hughes, Art Critic Whose Writing Was Elegant and Contentious, Dies at 74

Robert Hughes, the eloquent, combative art critic and historian who lived with operatic flair and wrote with a sense of authority that owed more to Zola or Ruskin than to his own century, died on Monday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. He was 74 and had lived for many years in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
Tim Robinson/WNET13
Robert Hughes’s “Shock of the New” documentary was originally seen by 25 million viewers.


He died after a long illness, said his wife, Doris Downes. 

With a Hemingwayesque build and the distinctively rounded vowels of his native Australia, Mr. Hughes became as familiar a presence on television as he was in print, over three decades for Time magazine, where he was chief art critic and often a traditionalist scourge during an era when art movements fractured into unrecognizability. 

“The Shock of the New,” his eight-part documentary about the development of modernism from the Impressionists through Warhol, was seen by more than 25 million viewers when it ran first on BBC and then on PBS, and the book that Mr. Hughes spun off from it, described as a “stunning critical performance” by Louis Menand of The New Yorker, was hugely popular. In 1997, the writer Robert S. Boynton described him as “the most famous art critic in the world.” 

It was decidedly not Mr. Hughes’s method to take prisoners. He was as damning about artists who fell short of his expectations as he was ecstatic about those who met them, and his prose seemed to reach only loftier heights when he was angry. As early as 1993, he described the work of Jeff Koons as “so overexposed that it loses nothing in reproduction and gains nothing in the original.” 

“Koons is the baby to Andy Warhol’s Rosemary,” he summarized, adding: “He has done for narcissism what Michael Milken did for the junk bond.” 

Of Warhol himself, the most influential artist of the last 40 years, he was not wholly dismissive — he once referred to him as “Genet in paint” — and he softened in his judgment over time. But he argued that Warhol had only a handful of good years and that his corrosive shadow over contemporary art ultimately did more harm than good. “The alienation of the artist, of which one heard so much talk a few years ago,” he wrote in 1975, “no longer exists for Warhol: his ideal society has crystallized round him and learned to love his entropy.” 

About artists he admired, like Lucian Freud, he cast the stakes in nothing less than heroic terms. “Every inch of the surface has to be won,” he wrote of Freud’s canvases in The Guardian in 2004, “must be argued through, bears the traces of curiosity and inquisition — above all, takes nothing for granted and demands active engagement from the viewer as its right.” 

“Nothing of this kind happens with Warhol, or Gilbert and George, or any of the other image-scavengers and recyclers who infest the wretchedly stylish woods of an already decayed, pulped-out postmodernism.” 

“The Fatal Shore,” Mr. Hughes’s epic 1987 history of his homeland, Australia — which he left in 1964 and where his reputation seemed to seesaw between hero and traitor — became an international best seller. 

And he continued to write prolifically and with ambitious range, on beloved subjects like Goya, Lucian Freud, fishing, the history of American art, the city of Barcelona — and himself — even after a near-fatal car crash in Australia in 1999 left him with numerous health problems. “Things I Didn’t Know,” a memoir, was published in 2006 and “Rome,” his highly personal history of the city he called “an enormous concretion of human glory and human error,” was published last year. In the memoir, Mr. Hughes was as poetically descriptive about his brush with death as he was about the art he loved: “At one point I saw Death. He was sitting at a desk, like a banker. He made no gesture, but he opened his mouth and I looked right down his throat, which distended to become a tunnel: the bocca d’inferno of old Christian art.” 

Boca do Inferno - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boca do Inferno. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jump to: navigation, search. Hell's Mouth near Cascais. Boca do Inferno (Portuguese for Hell's Mouth) is ...

 Robert Studley Forrest Hughes was born July 28, 1938, in Sydney, into a family of successful lawyers. His father, Geoffrey Forrest Hughes, was a flying ace during World War I, who died when Robert was 12.

 Mr. Hughes studied art and architecture at the University of Sydney and was associated with a group of leftist artists and writers that included Germaine Greer and Clive James, who described Mr. Hughes during those years as “the golden boy.” He pursued criticism mostly as a sideline while painting, writing poetry and serving as a cartoonist for the weekly intellectual journal The Observer. 

After leaving Australia, he spent formative time in Italy before settling mostly in London. There, he quickly became a well-known critical voice, writing for several newspapers and diving into the glamorous hedonism of the ’60s London, an experience that confirmed him in a kind of counter-counterculturalism — not that he didn’t indulge himself during those years. 

As he related in his memoir, he was so under the influence of drugs when Time magazine called to offer him a job that he thought that it might be a trick by the C.I.A. (He wrote that he contracted gonorrhea from his first wife, Danne Patricia Emerson, who, he believed, had contracted it from Jimi Hendrix.) 


gon • or • rhe • a, ((主に英))-rhoe • a
gɑ`nəríːə | gɔ`nəríə
[名][U]淋疾(りんしつ), 淋病.
[形]淋病の, 淋菌性の.

With Ms. Emerson, who died in 2003, Mr. Hughes had a son, Danton, from whom he was estranged after he and Ms. Emerson divorced in 1981. Danton, a sculptor who lived outside of Sydney, killed himself in 2002, at the age of 34. 

Besides his wife, a painter, Mr. Hughes is survived by two stepsons, Freeborn Garrettson Jewett IV and Fielder Douglas Jewett. He is also survived by his brothers, Thomas Hughes, a former attorney general of Australia, and Geoffrey Hughes, and by a sister, Constance Crisp, all of Sydney. His niece, Lucy Hughes Turnbull, was a former lord mayor of Sydney, and her husband, Malcolm Turnbull, is a member of the Australian House of Representatives. 

Mr. Hughes lived for many years in New York in a loft in SoHo, whose blossoming art scene he often lampooned. In 1978 he was recruited to anchor the new ABC News magazine “20/20,” but the reviews of his first broadcast were so disastrous that he was quickly replaced by Hugh Downs. 

In 1999, while in Australia working on a documentary about the country, he was driving on the wrong side of the road after a day of fishing and crashed head-on with another car carrying three men, one of whom was seriously injured. 

Mr. Hughes was critically injured, spending weeks in a coma. He fought a charge of dangerous driving, and after a bitter and highly public legal battle, he described the men in the other car as “lowlife scum.” (He was fined and banned from driving in Australia for three years; his anger about it led to his saying in the hearing of a reporter that it would not matter to him if Australia were towed out to sea and sunk.) 

The accident slowed him greatly and required him to walk with a cane, a harsh blow for the kind of writer who almost always seemed happier aboard a motorcycle or a fishing boat than behind a desk. But he continued to travel, to study deeply, to appear on television speaking in impromptu sentences almost as accomplished as those he wrote, and to write.
“No critic could have asked for a better run,” Christopher Hitchens wrote in a review of Mr. Hughes’s memoir. 

Mr. Hughes’s essential motivating drive may have been expressed best in his own words about Goya, who he said haunted him in the months when he was recovering from the crash. He was an artist, he wrote, whose genius lay in his “vast breadth of curiosity about the human animal and the depth of his appalled sympathy for it.” 

***** The Shock of the Newu.有漢譯本
The Shock of the New is a 1980 documentary television series written and presented by Robert Hughes produced by the BBC in association with Time-Life Films and produced by Lorna Pegram. [1] It was broadcast by the BBC in 1980 in the United Kingdom and by PBS in 1981 in the United States.[2][3] It addressed the development of modern art since the Impressionists and was accompanied by a book of the same name; its combination of insight, wit and accessibility are still widely praised.


Series outline

The series consisted of 8 episodes each one hour long (58 min approx.)[4]
  1. Mechanical Paradise - How the development of technology influenced art between 1880 and end of WWI.
  2. The Powers That Be - Examining the relationship between art and authority.
  3. The Landscape of Pleasure - Examining art's relationship with the pleasures of nature.
  4. Trouble in Utopia - Examining the aspirations and reality of architecture.
  5. The Threshold of Liberty - Examining the surrealists' attempts to make art without restrictions.
  6. The View from the Edge - A look at those who made visual art from the crags and vistas of their internal world.
  7. Culture as Nature - Examining the art that referred to the man-made world which fed off culture itself.
  8. The Future That Was - Robert Hughes slips down the decline of modernism while watching art without substance.
It was also shown on the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), although according to the PBS website the titles of the shows were changed slightly.
  1. The Mechanical Paradise - The influence of technology on art from 1880 to 1918
  2. The Shapes of Dissent - The relationship and conflicts between modern art and authority
  3. The Landscape of Pleasure - Artists' visions of paradise 1870's to 1950's
  4. Trouble in Utopia - Modern architecture
  5. The Threshold of Liberty - Surrealism
  6. The Sublime and Anxious Eye - Expressionism
  7. Culture as Nature - Pop Art
  8. The End of Modernity - The commercialisation of Modern Art.


The book of the series was published in 1980 by the BBC under the title The Shock of the New: Art and the century of change.[5] It was republished in 1991 by Thames and Hudson.[6]

 The New  Shock of the New

The New Shock of The New (2004) - Art Documentary - Robert Hughes

1979   EPISODE IThe mechanical paradise - The influence of technology on art from 1880 to 1918.

That's showbusiness

His TV series The Shock of the New changed the way people thought about modern art. A quarter of a century on, Robert Hughes has returned to the story - and found a world overtaken by money and celebrity
Robert Hughes
Robert Hughes: the art world 'is taking on some of the less creditable aspects of showbiz'
Photo: BBC
Twenty-five years is a mere eyeblink in the story of Egyptian, Mayan or even medieval English art, but it is a long time in the modern or (weasel word) post-modern context, and if one is given a single programme - a mere 55 minutes - to bring the story up to date from where The Shock of the New left off when we finished making the series, one is bound to fail. Too much has happened in art. Not all of that "too much", admittedly, is compelling or even interesting, but the ground is choked with events that defy brief, coherent summary.

So we decided to sample rather than summarise. Most of the "1980s artists" over whom such a fuss was made have turned out to be merely rhetorical, or inept, or otherwise fallen by the wayside. Is there anyone who really cares much what Julian Schnabel or David Salle, for instance, are now doing? Do the recent paintings of Sandro Chia or Georg Baselitz excite interest? Maybe in your breast, but not in mine.

The period has been full of conceptual art, but conceptual art makes for utterly droning TV. On the other hand, there are a few - a very few - artists of the "neo-expressionist" generation whose work continues its efforts to take on the burden of history, to struggle to explain our bizarre and terrible times to us in memorable visual terms, and one of the most complex and rewarding of these talents, uneven though he can be, is surely Anselm Kiefer.
No less so is Paula Rego, a painter I'd hardly heard of until a few years ago because she was scarcely known in the US - but how strongly put together, how viscerally and deeply felt, are her renderings of bad parental authority and of the psychic nightmares that lie just be low the supposedly sweet surface of childhood! Rego is a great subversive without a trace of the dull, academic conceptualism that renders the more approved American radical-feminists of the 80s-90s so tedious - and she draws superbly, which her sisters across the Atlantic have either forgotten or never learned to do. Like Kiefer, but unlike most painters at work today, she does art with a strong political content that never turns into a merely ideological utterance.

It used to be that media-based, photo-derived art looked almost automatically "interesting". It cut to the chase instantly, it mimicked the media-glutted state of general consciousness, it was democratic - sort of. The high priest of this situation was of course the hugely influential Andy Warhol, paragon of fast art. I am sure that though his influence probably will last (if only because it renders artmaking easier for the kiddies) his paragonhood won't, and despite the millions now paid for his Lizzes and Elvises, he will shrink to relative insignificance, a historical figure whose resonance is used up. There will be a renewed interest - not for everyone, of course, but for those who actually know and care about the issues - in slow art: art that takes time to develop on the retina and in the mind, that sees instant communication as the empty fraud it is, that relates strongly to its own traditions.
It doesn't matter whether the work is figurative or not. Sean Scully's big abstracts retain much more than a memory of experienced architecture, but they relate to the human body too, and there is something wonderfully invigorating about the measured density with which their paint brings them into the world. Not everything of value is self-evident and there is no reason in the world why art should be. Nor is it true that instantaneous media, such as photography and video, should or can deliver "more" truth than drawing. All you can say is that they offer a different sort of truth. This is an issue with which an artist like David Hockney has been struggling for years, and it's fascinating to see how he has given up on the photographic collages he used to make in favour of pure recording in watercolour, of which he is such a master.

Styles come and go, movements briefly coalesce (or fail to, more likely), but there has been one huge and dominant reality overshadowing Anglo-Euro-American art in the past 25 years, and The Shock of the New came out too early to take account of its full effects. This is the growing and tyrannous power of the market itself, which has its ups and downs but has so hugely distorted nearly everyone's relationship with aesthetics. That's why we decided to put Jeff Koons in the new programme: not because his work is beautiful or means anything much, but because it is such an extreme and self-satisfied manifestation of the sanctimony that attaches to big bucks. Koons really does think he's Michelangelo and is not shy to say so. The significant thing is that there are collectors, especially in America, who believe it. He has the slimy assurance, the gross patter about transcendence through art, of a blow-dried Baptist selling swamp acres in Florida. And the result is that you can't imagine America's singularly depraved culture without him. He fits into Bush's America the way Warhol fitted into Reagan's. There may be worse things waiting in the wings (never forget that morose observation of Milton's on the topo-graphy of Hell: "And in the lowest depth, a lower depth") but for the moment they aren't apparent, which isn't to say that they won't crawl, glistening like Paris Hilton's lip-gloss, out of some gallery next month. Koons is the perfect product of an art system in which the market controls nearly everything, including much of what gets said about art.

An interesting result of the growing power of the market is that artists and their dealers are looking for ways, through copyright law, to control what is written or broadcast about the work, so as to prevent critics who might feel less than prostrate admiration for it from saying anything about it at all. On TV, if you can't show, you can't tell. I have seen quite a lot of this in recent years; it is here to stay, and getting worse. Sometimes the results look merely silly, as when the American conceptual artist Mel Bochner, whose work (consisting of vaguely related words printed in capitals on canvas in various tasteful colours) we filmed in the last Whitney Biennial in New York, waited until a few days before broadcast to announce, through his agent, that he "did not wish to participate" in our film. Never mind.

Damien Hirst was another story. We were in London, hoping to film some of Hirst's work and perhaps a brief interview with him for The New Shock of the New. Oh no, absolutely not, came the word back. "Damien," said his gallery, "is very fragile to criticism." Could this fragile aesthete really be the Hemingwoid sheep-slicer, dot-painter and all-round bad boy? I had not actually written about Hirst's work (though I consider him a much more real artist than some of the lesser geniuses of our time) but it was clear he suspected he might be treated as someone less than Michelangelo or, for that matter, Richard Serra. The last message from him was that never, no-how, under no circumstances, could we film anything of his in the current show at the Tate, In a Gadda da Vida. Why? "Conservation reasons," it said. Better to discourage anything being said about the great work than risk the utterance of dissent or doubt.

I think the drift of such examples (and there are plenty of others) is clear enough. The art world is now so swollen with currency and the vanity of inflated reputation that it is taking on some of the less creditable aspects of showbiz. Hollywood doesn't want critics, it wants PR folk and profile-writers. Showbiz controls journalism by controlling access. The art world hopes to do the same, though on a more piddly level. No other domain of culture would try this one on. No publisher, fearing that an unfavourable review, would attempt to stop a book critic quoting from some novel. No producer would make a guarantee of innocuousness the price of a critic's ticket to the theatre. It just wouldn't happen. But in art, it can. And since it can, as Bill Clinton remarked in another context, it does.
· The New Shock of the New is on BBC2, Saturday, 9.05pm.