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Manny Farber

Manny Farber

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Also Known As: Died: August 18, 2008
Born: February 20, 1917 Cause of Death: bone cancer
Birth Place: Douglas, Arizona, USA Profession: critic, author, carpenter, artist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Since the late 1940s, this highly opinionated, controversial art and film critic has written for such cultural arbiters as "Cavalier", "Art Forum", Francis Ford Coppola's "City", "Film Culture" and "The Village Voice". It was in the 1950s that Farber wrote the three essays which were to make his name: "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art" (for "Film Culture"), "Underground Films" and "Hard Sell Cinema". Born in Arizona (just one mile north of Mexico), Farber worked as a carpenter before moving to New York in the late 1930s and starting his new career with a job writing for "The New Leader". He continued working as a film and art critic through the 1980s, praising such neglected directors as Howard Hawks, Raoul Walsh and William Wellman, and espousing his sometimes disputed (and often impenetrable) views on modern art and films. "Cinema" described his style as an "off-on, pos-neg, good-bad jolting around the once-linear American language". Farber--it is claimed--coined the term "underground film" in 1957. When Farber met artist Patricia Patterson in 1966, his interest in art expanded from criticism to actual creation (he and Patterson wed in 1975). Farber's paintings have been shown several times in...

Since the late 1940s, this highly opinionated, controversial art and film critic has written for such cultural arbiters as "Cavalier", "Art Forum", Francis Ford Coppola's "City", "Film Culture" and "The Village Voice". It was in the 1950s that Farber wrote the three essays which were to make his name: "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art" (for "Film Culture"), "Underground Films" and "Hard Sell Cinema".

Born in Arizona (just one mile north of Mexico), Farber worked as a carpenter before moving to New York in the late 1930s and starting his new career with a job writing for "The New Leader". He continued working as a film and art critic through the 1980s, praising such neglected directors as Howard Hawks, Raoul Walsh and William Wellman, and espousing his sometimes disputed (and often impenetrable) views on modern art and films. "Cinema" described his style as an "off-on, pos-neg, good-bad jolting around the once-linear American language". Farber--it is claimed--coined the term "underground film" in 1957.

When Farber met artist Patricia Patterson in 1966, his interest in art expanded from criticism to actual creation (he and Patterson wed in 1975). Farber's paintings have been shown several times in New York, as well as in the film "Routine Pleasures" (directed by Jean-Pierre Gorin).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Negative Space (2001) Himself--Film Critic
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Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as carpenter
:
Moved to New York late 1930s
1942:
Film critic for "The New Republic"
:
Wrote three major essays on film and art, 1950s (coined term "underground film" 1957)
:
Wrote for "The New Leader"
:
Wrote reviews for "Cavalier"
1966:
Worked as critic for "Art Forum"
1975:
Taught at University of California (San Diego) and wrote for "City"
1975:
Married painter Patricia Patterson
:
Had showings of his artwork in New York in 1980s
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Notes

"An impossibly eccentric movie critic whose salvos have a disturbing tendency to land on target." --Dwight MacDonald in Variety, March 10, 1971.

"Movies have always been suspiciously addicted to termite art tendences. Good work usually arises where the creators (Laurel and Hardy, the team of Howard Hawkes and William Faulkner operating on the first half of Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep") seem to have no ambitions toward gilt culture, but are involved in a kind of squandering-beaverish endeavor that isn't anywhere or for anything. A peculiar fact about the termite-and-tapeworm-fungus-moss art is that it always goes forward eating its own boundaries and likely as not, leaves nothing in its path other than signs of eager industrious umkempt activity." --Manny Farber in a 1962 article in Film Culture.

"An exemplar of white elephant art, particularly the critic-devouring virtue filling every pore of a work with glinting darting style and creative vivacity, is Francois Truffaut." --Manny Farber in a 1962 article in Film Culture.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Negative Space" Praeger

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