How Art Becomes History: Essays on Art, Society, and Culture in Post-New Deal America

By Maurice Berger | Go to book overview

III
World Fairness

AS THE 1980s draw to a close, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the guardians of first world culture to ignore the production of third world peoples and Western people of color. Sometimes the acceptance of the Other in mainstream contexts merely reiterates old exploltive patterns: the comfort with which white artists have appropriated the styles and forms of the "exotic," for example --in "primitivist" high Modernism as in the ongoing confiscation of black musical idioms by white rock 'n' roll artists-- can certainly be collusive with a power dynamic that excludes, ignores, and steals. The dealings of the Western cultural apparatus with non-Western cultural manifestations are virtually bound to be troubled, given their history and perhaps the very structure from which they emerge. But the need to make the approach is strong, even when the effort is marred. The recent "Magiciens de la terre" (Magicians of the earth) exhibition in Paris, in which artists from numerous non-Western countries exhibited alongside Western artists, is a case in point: though "Magiciens" may in the end have distorted third world practices by filtering them through decidedly Western intellectual and esthetic value systems, the

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How Art Becomes History: Essays on Art, Society, and Culture in Post-New Deal America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction: How Art Becomes History xiii
  • Notes xxii
  • 1 - FSA: The Illiterate Eye 1
  • II - Of Cold Wars and Curators: the Case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg 23
  • III - World Fairness 46
  • V - Race and Representation 78
  • VI - Black Skin, White Masks: Adrian Piper and the Politics of Viewing 93
  • VII - Culture Stories/American Myths 114
  • VIII - Are Art Museums Racist? 143
  • Notes 166
  • Index 195
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