An iconoclastic and essential voice in American film criticism, Manny Farber (1927-2008) was also a remarkably resourceful painter. This book celebrates Farber's lush visual art, showcasing his table-top still lifes crammed with personal associations, pop artifacts, and scrawled wisecracks—a series of intimate yet indirect self-portraits, spanning decades.
Samples of Farber’s sly, brash art criticism, previously uncollected, are offered alongside film reviews, manuscript pages, school quizzes, and notes.
The book’s editors provide essays and additional commentary; tribute and analysis are supplied by nearly two dozen other contributors, including Richard Armstrong, Olivier Assayas, Bill Berkson, Durga Chew-Bose, Anne Boyer, Moyra Davey, Josephine Halvorson, JP Gorin, Greil Marcus, Carol Mavor, Patricia Patterson, Chris Petit, Amanda Petrusich, Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Luc Sante, Robert Storr, Gina Telaroli, Wim Wenders, Robert Walsh, and Alice Waters.
The book comes on the heels of Helen Molesworth’s exhibition at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles: “One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art”—a Farber retrospective and wide-ranging group show in which Molesworth revisited and explored Farber’s seminal 1962 essay “White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art.” Molesworth commends Farber for embracing the glories and uncertainties of the everyday, creating work that is continually gnawing away at its own boundaries.
Edited and with essays by Michael Almereyda, Jonathan Lethem, and Robert Polito.
Designed by Scott Massey
Published by Hat & Beard Press, 280 pgs, 28.5 × 24 cm, Hardcover, 2019, 978-1-7320561-0-7