Thomas Crow

Thomas Crow teaches the history of art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His Painting and Public Life in 18th-Century Paris won the Eric Mitchell Prize in Art History and the Charles Rufus Morley Book Award.

Balls in Aquaria: Joseph Rykwert

Thomas Crow, 23 October 2008

Joseph Rykwert is unhappy about the current condition of architecture, the principal subject of his long career as a historian. In the conclusion to The Judicious Eye, he complains that ‘new imaging techniques made possible by information technology have allowed architects to shape their buildings without reference to the unavoidable orthogonalities of building or the routine repetition...

A Republic of Taste

Thomas Crow, 19 March 1987

We inhabit at present a culture that assigns absolute priority to the simple existence of an art object over anything we might find to think or say about it. The latest overnight phenomenon in the galleries of New York enjoys an automatic claim to attention that the most seasoned critic will never possess. The history of art as an academic discipline is by and large aligned with this hierarchy of value. Accounting for the existence of objects consumes the time of most people in the profession: documenting the facts of patronage, original locations and arrangements, details of technique, iconographic choices, provenances down to our own time, states of preservation. To recount these things is what it means to speak about the art of the past in an authoritative voice.

Going Against: Is There a Late Style?

Frank Kermode, 5 October 2006

The odd thing is that most of the contributors to these books doubt whether it is possible to offer a clear and distinct idea of the subject under discussion. Indeed, Karen Painter, one of the...

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P.N. Furbank, 3 August 1995

From one point of view, Thomas Crow’s remarkable pair of books, Painters and Public Life in 18th-Century Paris (1985) and Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France (1995), can be...

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Sans Sunflowers

David Solkin, 7 July 1994

The tremors of political unrest that rocked so many universities on both sides of the Atlantic during the late Sixties and early Seventies had important repercussions in many of the humanities...

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