Richard Canning

Art Attack

Outsider: Always Almost, Never Quite – Volumes I & II

By

Quartet Books Vol I 344pp Vol II 300pp £25 each order from our bookshop

Naked Emperors: Criticisms of English Contemporary Art

By

Quartet Books 368pp £15 order from our bookshop

Coming across octogenarian art critic Brian Sewell’s late appeal to Truth in Outsider II, his second volume of autobiography, I thought of Keats’s familiar equation of Truth with Beauty (‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’). Sure enough, a paean to Beauty soon follows, in Sewell’s reflections on the flawless skin of the young and the ‘ridiculous’ responsiveness of the elderly to the allure of youth. Truth and Beauty propel these books, and are present on every page.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What did London look like in the 6th Century? Rory Naismith's 'Citadel of the Saxons' tries to answer that questi… ,
    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,