Rosenthal, Norman (Leon) 1944-
ROSENTHAL, Norman (Leon) 1944-
PERSONAL: Born November 8, 1944, in England; son of Paul and Kate (Zucker) Rosenthal; married Manuela Beatriz Mena Marques, 1989. Education: University of Leicester, B.A. (history, with honors). Hobbies and other interests: Music, especially opera.
ADDRESSES: Office—Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD England.
CAREER: Cornwall Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, art exhibitions organizer, 1965; Thomas Agnew and Sons, librarian, 1966-68; Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Brighton, England, exhibitions officer, 1970-71. Writer and editor. Royal Opera House, London, England, board member, 1995-99; Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy, board member, 1995—.
MEMBER: Palazzo Grassi Venice; Opera Board Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
AWARDS, HONORS: Royal College of Art, London, England, honorary fellow, 1987; Chevalier l'Ordre des Art et des Lettres, France, 1987; Cavaliere Ufficiale, Order of Merit, Italy, 1992; Cross, Order of Merit, Germany, 1993.
(Editor, with Margravine of Bayreuth Wilhelmina) Misfortunate Margravine, Macmillan (London, England), 1970.
(With Christos M. Joachimides and Wieland Schmied) German Art in the Twentieth Century, Prestel Publishing Ltd. (London, England), 1985.
(Editor, with Susan P. Compton), British Art in theTwentieth Century: The Modern Movement, Prestel Publishing Ltd. (London, England), 1989.
(Editor, with Emily Braun) Italian Art in the Twentieth Century: Painting and Sculpture, 1900-1988, Te Neues Publishing Company (New York, NY), 1989.
Recent Paintings of Georg Baselitz, edited by Judy Adam, Anthony d'Offay Gallery (London, England), 1990.
(Designer, with Georg Baselitz), Georg Baselitz: Recent Paintings, Distributed Art Pub., 1991.
(Editor, with Christos M. Joachimides) Metropolis: International Art Exhibit, Berlin, 1991, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor, with Christos M. Joachimides) The Age of Modernism: Art in the Twentieth Century, Hatje Verlag (Stuttgart, Germany), 1993.
(Editor, with Christos M. Joachimides and David Anfam) American Art in the Twentieth Century: Painting and Sculpture, 1913-1993, Prestel Publishing Ltd. (London, England), 1993.
Allen Jones: Prints, edited by Richard Lloyd and Marco Livingstone, Prestel Publishing Ltd. (London, England), 1995.
(Editor, with Henry Brooks Adams), Christos M. Joachimides, The Age of Modernism: Art in the Twentieth Century, Verlag Gerd Hatje (Stuttgart, Germany), 1997.
(With Danilo Eccher) Julian Schnabel, Distributed Art Pub. 1997.
(With Richard Shone, Lisa Jardine, and others) Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, Thames & Hudson (New York, NY), 1999.
Gary Wragg: The Quiet Paintings, Flowers East/Momentum, 2000.
(Editor, with Max Wigram) Sex and the British: Slap and Tickle: A Perspective on the Sexual Content of British Art since the 1960s, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris, France), 2000.
(With Louise Neri and Francesco Clemente) Alighiero e Boetti, Gagosian Gallery (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Catherine Lampert and Isabel Carlisle) Frank Auerbach: Paintings and Drawings, 1954-2001, Royal Academy of Arts (London, England), 2001.
(With Isabel Carlisle) Joe Tilson (1950-2002), Thames and Hudson (New York, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Norman Rosenthal is the exhibitions secretary for the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He has organized and curated numerous art exhibitions and written text for many museum catalogues. Credited with a "dramatic financial recovery" at the Royal Academy of Arts, according to a Studio International correspondent, Rosenthal appears to attract controversy. Flachra Gibbons described him as a "flamboyant impresario" for Guardian Unlimited. In an Observer article on the Guardian Unlimited Web site, Euan Ferguson commented, "Rosenthal does not come across as a man totally at ease with the outside world," while praising Rosenthal's great intellect and "splendidly learned" catalogue notes.
Rosenthal teamed with Christos M. Joachimides to edit Metropolis: International Art Exhibit, Berlin, 1991, which catalogues an exhibition featuring works from more than seventy artists. The volume includes biographical accounts of the various artists, but it also presents a series of essays on what Eric Bryant, writing in Library Journal, called "the meaning of art in the Nineties." Bryant acknowledged Metropolis as "surely the decontexualizing catalog of the year."
Rosenthal and Joachimides again collaborated in editing The Age of Modernism: Art in the Twentieth Century and American Art in the Twentieth Century: Painting and Sculpture, 1913-1993. Eric Bryant, in a Library Journal assessment, called The Age of Modernism "inarguably an important study," and he noted that it includes "compelling arguments for the continuing vitality of Modernism." American Art in the Twentieth Century, meanwhile, received recognition from Paula Frosch, another Library Journal reviewer, as a "very thorough view of a complex and fascinating period." A Publishers Weekly critic deemed American Art in the Twentieth Century "a fresh, vibrant, major reassessment of modern American art." Two other critics, Kent Anderson and David Baker, wrote in School Arts that American Art in the Twentieth Century constitutes "a unique view." Choice reviewer R. J. Merrill noted the accompanying essays are "a refreshing selection of methodologies." Further recognition came from John Golding, who summarized American Art in the Twentieth Century in the Times Literary Supplement as an "enormous catalogue."
Frank Auerbach: Paintings and Drawings, 1954-2001 is a museum catalogue that Rosenthal produced with Catherine Lampert and Isabel Carlisle. In a Times Literary Supplement appraisal, Michael Podro observed that "Auerbach's work has a constant self-revising dynamic which never allows the subject to disengage from the distinctive properties of the painter's medium, nor does it allow the relation between medium and subject to be taken for granted." He added, "In his fine catalogue essay for this exhibition, Norman Rosenthal shows Auerbach to be central to the tradition of twentieth-century figurative expressionism."
Rosenthal united with other writers, including Richard Shone and Lisa Jardine, to publish Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection. "It doesn't matter whether Norman Rosenthal was thinking about box-office when he launched Sensation on the Royal Academy," declared Peter Wollen in London Review of Books. Wollen also commented: "His show is significant because it has provided us with a chance to take stock of the complex context in which art is made today. [Sensation] exposes a cross-section . . . enabling us to look into the contemporary London art world from new angles and meditate on its past and its future."
"First [Rosenthal] brought the world Sensation, the most controversial art show of the last decade," observed Gibbons in her Guardian article, "Now [he] . . . may have surpassed himself with a new exhibition called Apocalypse, featuring 'the extremes of horror and beauty.'" Apocalypse: Beauty and Horror in Contemporary Art caused quite a stir when it opened at the Royal Academy of Art, and the exhibition catalogue followed suit. Peter Plagens, writing in Newsweek International, described it as a "festival of shock value." Plagens noted Maurizio Cattelan's "The Ninth Hour," an artwork depicting Pope John Paul II's encounter with a meteorite. Plagens hailed "The Ninth Hour" as "the best piece in the exhibition," and he described it as "slapstick blasphemy." "What we really hope," Rosenthal told Jonathan Jones for Guardian Unlimited, "is that the whole thing will be a cathartic experience for people who come and engage with the work rather than those who come to gawp and be shocked. It's like going to the theatre or reading a book or seeing a great film that contains elements of horror in it and beauty. It's about catharsis."
On the future of the Royal Academy of Art and its "rivalry" with the Tate Gallery in London, Rosenthal told Louisa Buck in an interview for The Art Newspaper.com: "I think that the Royal Academy is going to position itself not as a rival to the Tate, but as another important theatre of art....weare going to do more contemporary exhibitions as well as the great historic shows that we try to do. I am hoping that we are soon going to be in a position of doing big one-person shows of major artists who would enjoy the Royal Academy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Burlington Magazine, December, 1997, "Exhibition Reviews," p. 886.
Choice, May, 1994, R. J. Merrill, review of American Art in the Twentieth Century, p. 1424.
Independent, October 7, 1997, David Lister, "What Norman Really Means to the RA," p. 18.
Interview, April, 1991, Eric Bryant, "How Two Cowboy Curators Traveled the World," p. 96.
Library Journal, August, 1991, Eric Bryant, review of Metropolis, p. 96; September 15, 1993, Paula Frosch, review of American Art in the Twentieth Century, p. 71; September 15, 1997, Eric Bryant, review of The Age of Modernism, p. 66.
London Review of Books, October 30, 1997, Peter Wollen, "Thatcher's Artists," pp. 7-9.
Newsweek International, October 2, 2000, Peter Plagens, "Apocalypse Now," p. 110.
New York Review of Books, December 16, 1999, James Fenton, "Giving Offense," pp. 18-22.
New York Times Book Review, December 5, 1971, review of The Misfortunate Margravine, p. 80.
Observer, September 24, 2000, Euan Ferguson, "A Hell of His Own Making," p. 15.
Publishers Weekly, September 20, 1993, review of American Art in the Twentieth Century, p. 57.
School Arts, April, 1994, Kent Anderson and David Baker, review of American Art in the Twentieth Century, p. 49.
Times Literary Supplement, October 1, 1993, John Golding, "Innocence and Invention," pp. 16-17; September 21, 2001, Michael Pedro, "At the Edge of Awareness," pp. 18-19.
Wall Street Journal, Lesley Downer, "Artists See Visions of Apocalypse Now," p. A24.
Art Newspaper.com,http://www.allemadi.com/TAN/ (May 31, 2002), Louisa Buck, "Apocalypse Now: A Global Sensation."
Guardian Unlimited,http://www.guardian.co.uk/ (May 3, 2000), Flachra Gibbons, "Sensation's Over, Now It's Apacalypse"; September 7, 2000), Jonathan Jones, "Shock Treatment"; (September 24, 2000), Euan Ferguson, "A Hell of His Own Making."
Royal Academy of Arts,http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/ (May 31, 2002), "Curators."
Studio International,http://www.studio-internation.co.uk/ (May 31, 2002), "Apocalypse: Beauty and Horror in Contemporary Art."*