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Perfect Wave: More Essays on Art and Democracy

Perfect Wave: More Essays on Art and Democracy

Current price: $18.00
Publication Date: October 6th, 2023
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
ISBN:
9780226333144
Pages:
240
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Description

 A collection of essays by American art critic Dave Hickey, nicknamed “The Bad Boy of Art Criticism.”
 
When Dave Hickey was twelve, he rode the surfer’s dream: the perfect wave. And, like so many things in life we long for, it didn’t quite turn out—he shot the pier and dashed himself against the rocks of Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach, which nearly killed him.
 
Hickey went on to develop a career as one of America’s foremost critical iconoclasts, a trusted no-nonsense voice commenting on the worlds of art and culture. Perfect Wave brings together essays on a wide range of subjects from throughout Hickey’s career, displaying his breadth of interest and powerful insight into what makes art work, or not, and why we care. With Hickey as our guide, we travel to Disneyland and Vegas, London and Venice. We discover the genius of Karen Carpenter and Waylon Jennings, learn why Robert Mitchum matters more than Jimmy Stewart, and see how the stillness of Antonioni speaks to us today. Never slow to judge—or to surprise us in doing so—Hickey relates his wincing disappointment in the later career of his early hero Susan Sontag and shows us the appeal to our commonality that we’ve been missing in Norman Rockwell.
 
Bookended by previously unpublished personal essays that offer a new glimpse into Hickey’s own life—including the aforementioned conclusion to his surfing career—Perfect Wave is a welcome addition to the Hickey canon.
 

About the Author

Dave Hickey (1938-2021) was the executive editor of Art in America and the author of 25 Women: Essays on Their Art,The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty, and Air Guitar. He served as a contributing editor for the Village Voice and as the arts editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Praise for Perfect Wave: More Essays on Art and Democracy

"Veteran art critic Hickey delivers another poignant and masterful collection of essays. In each selection, he critically and humorously contemplates cultural zeitgeists and the essence of good art in music, books, paintings, and architecture. His razor-sharp insight and witty prose make for an entertaining read. . . . While his prose is charming and at times aphoristic, Hickey is always serious when challenging the status quo or defending the cultural innovators who, in his view, have realized art’s potential as a medium for beauty, democracy, and unabashed self-expression."
— Publishers Weekly

"He remains one of the finest American cultural critics, for he opens his own pleasures to appreciative scrutiny and collective relish."
— PopMatters