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Jed Perl
New Art City

Combat Zone
by Stephen Maine

Jed Perl, New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century, 646 pp., Knopf, $35

Sophisticated art-worlders like to beat up on Jed Perl, and it must be said that the curmudgeonly critic for the New Republic brings much of this abuse upon himself, possibly rivaling even Hilton Kramer, his erstwhile editor at the New Criterion, as most-reviled art critic at work today. He is seen by many as conservative and backward looking, but what underlies his attacks on Cindy Sherman, Mike Kelley, Gerhard Richter and other avant-garde behemoths is a palpable disdain for the sprawling, white-hot art market.