"As a stylist, in his descriptions of art and movements and books, Rosenberg has no equal. . . . One is grateful for this] essay collection. To my mind, his piece on art criticism and the distinction between it and art history is alone worth the price of the book."--Corinne Robins, "New York Times Book Review "
In this collection of essays Rosenberg, as always, meticulously attends to the integrity of the "made-thing"; an equal attention to the reciprocity between artist and culture lends a fine moral quality to his aesthetic. The essays are divided into three sections: "Creators," "Reflections," consisting of a single and singular near-manifesto which outlines the obligations and uses of art criticism; and "Situations." The "edge" of the title describes the boundary between "fine" and "commercial," between the creator and the spectator, between, in effect, art as vital experience and art as artifact. In Rosenberg's view art, its makers, and its critics are caught up in a "cultural-political" morass that threatens to rob them of their urgency, of their real and potential value. His touchstones for redeeming cultural values are the first "modernists" - Duchamp, Miro, and their heirs - Warhol, Kelly, et al. - to name only a few to whom he devotes individual essays. The Duchamp piece, appropriately the first in the book, reassesses the artist who did the most to variously inspire and to corrupt his successors, to bemuse and enrage his public, and to blast through the boundaries whose current lack of definition leaves art on the "edge." Rosenberg explodes the myth of Cultureburg; this collection shows a unique sensitivity to the profound and cogent issues attending fine art in this troubled era. (Kirkus Reviews)