In 1921, the Constructivists announced the end of painting. To mark its passing they held the exhibition ‘5 x 5 = 25’ and declared that they would now only make art for everyday life; Productivism. The Tate has devoted a room to this last exhibition of painting, the highlight of which has to be Rodchenko’s ‘Pure Red Colour, Pure Yellow Colour, Pure Blue Colour’ (1921).
2009 is officially “The Year of Astronomy,” commemorating Galilei’s first observation of the Moon through his telescope in November of 1609. Born in Pisa, Galileo Galilei worked in Florence, where the fourth centennial of his discovery is being celebrated with a stunning and sophisticated exhibition which took four years to prepare.
There are flashes of wit – the description of the morgue as a “deconstruction site”, for example – and a sense of the book probing its own genre at times. A particularly striking passage involves faked emails, supposedly sent by Scarpetta, which purport to “dish the dirt” on autopsies at which the medical examiners mock the corpses, take souvenirs and generally act callously.
Nevertheless, in my personal library there are 130 books on Pompeii. Of all these, this is the one I would choose to read first.