evolving, txansforming, changing. To annunprejudiced eye, the idea of avant-gardenended with Picasso, cubism, Leger, theirncontemporaries who proposed a newnconcept of reality, and with a few lonelyngeniuses like Braque, Matisse, andnChagall, who offered new structures ofnvisions and symbols. Everything after,nwhatever its name, was either visualnamusement, or epigonism, or charlataiiry.nPaging through the superbly publishednoverview of the Pompidou Center’snriches one gets an uneasy feelingnthat what made modern art tick was annimpulse to make an infinitely abstrusenworld even less understandable. Imagesnon the canvas were supposed to explainnnothing; inexplicabiUty and unaccountabilitynfor responsibilities of meaningnreigned supreme. The artist’s credo andnpride was to say: “Take it or leave it, likenit or hate it, I couldn’t care less.” For anmultitude of reasons, most of them rootednin the liberal philosophy of life and itsnradical mission to destroy the bourgeoisnculture (God only knows why, sincenthat culture had proved to be a generousnincubator of nonconformism in the arts),nmodern society decided to give the artistnthe privileges of a toddler-, he wasnfreed from the obligation to understandnhis own purposes, and we were supposednto love him just for his beautiful liabble.nMuch has been already written aboutnthe inherent nullity of that concept ofnart, yet we do not know exactly why—nthat art’s sin of gimmickry notwithstanding—itnstill possessed, in the first quarternof this century, a sort of unmatched sensualnattractiveness. Is it that conceptualnfreshness or the sheer talent of its practitionersnwhich so crassly eludes itsnepigones today? Why a total liberationnof perception, antielemental and antiorganicndecomposition of the visible,nand the demolition of perceptual cohesivenessnwere alluring, even charmingnthen but seem farcical and vexing inntoday’s imitations is a mystery. The dry,nalmost comically obtuse “connoisseurship”nof the catalog notes explains nothing.nThe reliance on subjective criterian”liberated” from any objective cognitiven44inChronicles or Culturenstandards and on the pseudosophisticationnof art historians who try to supportnit have long since reached a dead end.nLeafing through the Pompidou Center’snMeanwhile, 216 Years LaternTom Phillips: A Humument: AnTreated Victorian Navel; Thamesnand Hudson; New York.nLaurence Sterne taught the world anlesson with his The Life and Opinions ofnTristram Shandy (completed in 1767)nthat the world promptly forgot. Sincenthen, formalists. New Critics, structuralists,ndeconstructionists, and partisans ofnvarious other tribes have tried to reformulatenSterne’s message. They have notnbeen noticeably successful. While thisnmay be presumptuous of us, we will takena crack at restating Sterne: the book is anphysical object. Everyone knows that,nof course, but few pay any attention to it.nHowever, upon encountering the blacknpages in memory of Yorick, the marblednpage (“motley emblem of my work!”),nthe missing 10 pages (Chapter 24 of VolumenIV), and the rest, the reader is con­nI Ml s:ifnGood Old PhonographynBy Doug RamseynIn the absence of a major innovator tonset trailblazing examples, musicians duringnthe past few years have been exploringnthe jazz tradition. The resulting consolidationnof established values hasnenriched the playing of young musiciansnand called attention to thefr forebearsnwho created and developed the music.nA great deal of the important music fromnMr. Ramsey writes about jazz fromnCaliforniannntreasures, it somehow becomes sadlynclear that everything done after 1945 isneither repetition or scam or art businessnor a fusion of all three. (LT) Dnfronted with the feet that he isn’t holding anportable story, but a physical object. AnHumument by Tom Phillips has thensame effect. The “treated” in its subtitlenis an example of meiosis—a rare thing inntoday’s bullhorn world. Phillips took annovel written by W. H. Mallock and reprintednin 1892 3S A Human Documentnand, through the use of acrylic gouache,npen and ink, a typewriter, and glue,nturned the black type on white pagesnwith consistent margins into a colorfulnobject. Words remain, passages are constructedn(some sounding like epigrams,nmodern verse, nonsense, or all of thenabove), and the author—no, the editor,nwhich is what Phillips amounts to—nclaims that there still remains a narrativenline. But the book is best seen or observed,nnot read. To concentrate on thenwords is like going to an art museum onlynto read the tags next to the paintings. Dnthe first half-century of jazz is being reissued—innsome cases, issued for thenfirst time. Listeners are discovering ornrediscovering the genius of the innovatorsnwho made it possible for yynericannmusic to evolve at accelerated speed. Inna similar time frame, classical musicnwould have had to make stylistic changesnfrom Palestrina to Stravinsky in less thanna century.nNearly the entire evolution of jazz as anrecognizable idiom is represented onnavailable recordings. For example, LouisnArmstrong, the man who is arguably then