Calvin Tomkins


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Calvin Tomkins was born in 1925 in Orange, New Jersey. He joined the New Yorker as a staff writer in 1960. His many profiles include John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, Leo Castelli, Damien Hirst, Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, Cindy Sherman, and Jasper Johns. Tomkins is the author of twelve books, including The Bride and the Bachelors (1965), Living Well Is the Best Revenge (1971), Lives of the Artists (2008), and Duchamp: A Biography (1996).

By Calvin Tomkins:


July 27th, 2016

Stephanie LaCava Interviews Paul Chan for The Believer

Stephanie LaCava recently talked with Paul Chan for a series of interviews she's doing about "The Artist's Novel" on The Believer's site. Read their full chat here.

April 7th, 2015

Art In America Profiles Paul Chan & Badlands Unlimited

Art in America's Associate Editor, Brian Droitcour wrote an in-depth piece discussing Paul's work and Badlands' published output since the beginning. Getting to the heart of what Badlands is all about, Droitcour writes, "For him, books aren’t just a means to convey knowledge; they are also a source ... more

December 2nd, 2014

Calvin Tomkins Interviewed in The Paris Review

In his interview with the Review's JC Gabel, Tomkins recounts the time he spent with Lost Generation icons Gerald and Sarah Murphy: "In the twenties and early thirties, the couple, along with their three children, spent part of the year in the south of France, on the Riviera, and the rest of it imme... more

November 7th, 2014

Calvin Tomkins in ArtReview Power100 issue

Bridget McCarthy interviews Calvin Tomkins in the latest Power 100 issue of ArtReview. Our favorite quote: "There's this mantra: if art can be anything, it can also be nothing. It can be of no interest or importance at all. It's completely open-ended. Duchamp gave the freedom for this situation to b... more

September 26th, 2014

T Magazine hightlights Badlands at 2014 NYABF

Fiona Duncan at T, The New York Times magazine, highlights Badlands at this weekend's New York Art Book Fair at MoMAPS1. Duncan writes, "This young New York-based publishing house publishes e-books, traditional books and artist works that seek to break down the distinction between print, digital fil... more

August 23rd, 2014

Lynne Tillman on Duchamp and The Afternoon Interviews

Novelist Lynne Tillman mentions The Afternoon Interviews in her column for Frieze. She writes, "Calvin Tomkins’s new book, Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews (Badlands Unlimited, 2013), is my latest friend. Tomkins met Duchamp in 1959 to interview him for Newsweek magazine; over time, the art ... more

August 23rd, 2014

A cat reviews The Afternoon Interviews

Shit My Cat Reads has a nice take on Calvin Tomkins's Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews. "This is a fascinating, slim book of interviews with Marcel Duchamp, a French dandy who took a break from his professional chess career in order to prove that toilets can be fine art, too. He’s funny and ... more

August 22nd, 2014

Need It Now: Calvin Tomkins's Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews

Antonina Jedrzejczak of Vogue swoons over the release of Calvin Tomkins's Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews. She writes, "Featuring a series of previously unpublished conversations that took place in 1964 in the artist’s Greenwich Village apartment, the wide-ranging discussions include the re... more