Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints
by Joan Acocella
Pantheon Books. 544 pages, $30.
JOAN ACOCELLA writes beautifully on every topic she covers, and this collection of her biographical essays over the last two decades shimmers with droll observations, vivid images, and wise insights about important artists. Her real subject is 20th-century modernism, and she examines some of the important people who created it. Purposely, it seems, rather than focusing on the great icons of the movement, she spotlights figures who have been neglected or whose discipline has been appreciated only by a cultural elite.