From "Magazine Rack" by Grant Mandarino, Artnet.com:
Even though the conceited cultural troglodytes at The New Criterion are pretty much irrelevant -- they hate art so much, why are they even in the business? -- it’s good to check in occasionally just to see what they’ve got going. The staunchly conservative "review of the arts and intellectual life" was launched in 1982 by art critic Hilton Kramer after he left the New York Times in disgust at the appalling state of criticism then in practice -- you know, all that multicultural hogwash. Kramer edits the magazine in collaboration with Roger Kimball, an unrepentant toff who reviews art for The National Review and heads Encounter Books, publisher of such fine titles as How the Obama Administration Threatens Our National Security, and In Praise of Prejudice.
The February’s glowing panegyric for Irving Kristol, "godfather of modern conservatism," is no great surprise. Love is blind, after all. More surprising for a journal otherwise devoted to limited government and free markets is a review of the latest biography of Ayn Rand that compares this capitalist paragon to Stalin. Rand is described as a paranoid megalomaniac whose verbose faux-philosophic novels are as enjoyable and intellectually stimulating as eating your own face off (I’m paraphrasing). For once I agree with a New Criterion author, but given that the article has drawn over 24 pages of reader responses on the magazine website, plenty of Rand loyalists remain ever ready to defend their mad, dead queen.
As for the art reviews, they’re a mixed bag. Wall Street Journal art critic Karen Wilkin nitpicks her way through an exhibition of works by Cézanne, Picasso and Mondrian on view at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, while painter and professor Mario Naves unloads his spleen on Gabriel Orozco, whose work is of course the subject of a major retrospective at MoMA right now. Nitpickery and insults, typically at tedious length and generally without intelligence or wit, this is the right wing’s idea of "art criticism." Showing a bit more promise is conservative wunderkind James Panero’s brief visit to the burgeoning art scene in Bushwick, Brooklyn (where "pigeon coops are common. . . and birds often circle above the rooftops"), but alas, although nice, the prose is a bit prosaic.