On Scheldjahl: of writing and language

Perhaps the most exquisite writing I read on a regular basis comes from New Yorker art critic Peter Scheldahl’s meditations on new art shows and happenings. A self-described failed poet, his prose achieves the pinnacle of poetry. And as a lover of word etymology, he uses words in ways that let their histories and nuancies sing.

Some examples from his recent review of a new Piet Mondrian biography:

Intent on Mondrian’s internal reckonings, Janssen scants what it’s like for a viewer to confront one of the artist’s great abstractions. It’s kinesthetic for me — gut-felt. Gravity is key, the force urges everything on Earth toward horizontality. In regard to that, a diagonal is a mere anecdote: something propped up or toppling.

Two words leap out (bolded).

More to come …