Lynne Munson reviews my book

She covers Good and Plenty: The Creative Successes of American Arts Funding, in The Weekly Standard.  Here is the link, which offers only a bit of the review to non-subscribers.  Here is an excerpt from the critical part of her review:

…few critical observers would agree that contemporary American art has put its best work forward in recent decades, when our artists and art institutions have enjoyed more riches than at any other time in history.  Contemporary American artmaking has been monopolized for nearly a half-century by postmodernism, a politics-obsessed formulaic approach that has yielded such shock-art masterpieces as Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ (which finds itself in numerous museum collections).  Artists who do not work in the postmodern mode are excluded from museum exhibitions and the best galleries.

Of course, no better can be said of the products of the European art world, whose denizens have, at best, striven to vie with their postmodern American counterparts for the prize of Most Shocking.  But to argue, as Cowen does, that "the American model encourages artistic creativity [and] keeps the politicization of art to a minimum," is to be unaware of how narrow and prescriptive American artmaking has become.  The simple fact is that artmaking in America has been taken over by a single bad idea, despite the ample and diverse funding it receives.

Her last sentence is a good illustration of how two people can look at the same facts and see such very different patterns.


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