The Lives of Artists: Collected Profiles
The definitive collection of artist profiles by legendary journalist and New Yorker writer Calvin Tomkins, from the 1960s to today
When Calvin Tomkins joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 1960, he did not plan to make art and living artists his main subjects. And yet, auspiciously for the magazine and its readers, Tomkins did just that. For the last six decades, his profiles of contemporary artists, from Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to Cindy Sherman and Mark Bradford, have become the liveliest and most authoritative guide to the art of our time. These six volumes contain eighty-two of Tomkins’s profiles, from 1962 to 2019. Balancing insight and observation with wit, candor, and appreciation, Tomkins is a master of the profile—his indelible prose forming fascinating portraits, each a work of art in its own right.