Michael Fried (born 1939) is as much a poet as he is a critic. His experiences among artworks and art-world luminaries have resulted in a canonized body of criticism, but they have also provided the raw material for many of the poems in his newest collection, Promesse du Bonheur. Fried’s passion, lyricism and humor--lauded by authors such as Allen Grossman and J.M. Coetzee--are on display as he explores great minds and great works of art that have moved him. Along the way, Fried reveals himself to the reader: he is at once a student, unsure of himself, a young man, ambitious and in love, a committed champion of artists and a poet, transmuting the world around him. The book combines the 80 poems, a mix of lyric and prose poems, with 33 photographs--most of them made, all of them chosen by renowned American photographer James Welling.
Michael Fried is a poet, art critic, art historian, and literary scholar. His many books include Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot (1980), Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews (1998), and The Moment of Caravaggio (2010). Previous books of poems are Powers (1973), To the Center of the Earth (1994), and The Next Bend in the Road (2004). Fried is the J. R. Herbert Boone Chair in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.
James Welling has been questioning the norms of representation since the 1970s. His work centers on an exploration of photography, shuffling the elemental components of the medium to produce a distinctly uncompromising body of work. Welling is also intensely interested in cultural and personal ideas of memory in his work. In opening up the medium of photography for experimentation, James Welling’s practice has influenced an entire generation of artists and photographers.
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