Hilton Kramer

(b. 1928)

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American critic, born in Gloucester, Massachusetts. After taking his BA at Syracuse University, he did postgraduate work at Columbia University, the New School of Social Research, New York, Harvard University, and Indiana University. In 1954 he became associate editor and feature editor of Arts Digest and subsequently worked for numerous journals, notably The New York Times, of which he became chief art critic in 1974. Like his colleague on The Times, John Canaday, he sometimes caused controversy because of his forceful views. He was engaged in a long-standing war of words with politicized artists such as Hans Haacke. The curator and critic Robert Storr has listed his condescension towards de Kooning, Johns, Nauman, and Tuttle and ‘just about anyone of significant accomplishment that one can cite’ and said that ‘signal wrongheadedness is his only claim to art historical immortality’ (Artforum, November 1997). In addition to journalism, he wrote several books, notably The Age of the Avant-Garde: An Art Chronicle of 1956–1972 (1973), The Revenge of the Philistines: Art and Culture, 1972–1984 (1985), and monographs on Gaston Lachaise (1967) and Richard Lindner (1975). He was also the co-founder of a conservative political and cultural journal, The New Criterion.

Subjects: Art.

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