Art Matters: How the Culture Wars Changed America

Overview

The past decade has seen American culture deeply divided by debates over social identity, public morality, communal values and freedom of expression. A key focus of these polarizing discussions has been the role of visual arts in public life.

In Art Matters, five leading cultural critics and two prominent contemporary artists show the ways that this debate has profoundly reshaped our view of American culture. Lucy Lippard investigates the extraordinary recent transformations in ...

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Overview

The past decade has seen American culture deeply divided by debates over social identity, public morality, communal values and freedom of expression. A key focus of these polarizing discussions has been the role of visual arts in public life.

In Art Matters, five leading cultural critics and two prominent contemporary artists show the ways that this debate has profoundly reshaped our view of American culture. Lucy Lippard investigates the extraordinary recent transformations in visual art; Michele Wallace takes on high art, popular culture, and African American identity; David Deitcher discusses queer culture and AIDS; Carole S. Vance ponders censorship and sexually explicit imagery; and Lewis Hyde considers democracy and culture. Projects by artists Julie Ault and Andrea Fraser provide a context for these debates.

Art Matters also offers a close examination of attempts to develop alternative funding sources for artists, focusing specifically on the influential private foundation Art Matters-a foundation which became an important proponent for new forms of art and for protecting freedom of expression through its funding and advocacy efforts.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Fifteen essays<-->five written for this volume and the others reprinted<-->are arranged in sections on new approaches to visual culture; AIDS, art, and reaction; identity politics; censorship and the chilling effect; and cultural policy and funding for the arts. Some 125 illustrations (mostly small, b&w photos of artwork and artists) supplement the text. Wallis is a culture critic who has edited many collections; the two other editors are affiliated with Art Matters, Inc. The volume includes a chronology of events since 1980 relevant to freedom of expression. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814793510
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Yenawine is Chair of Art Matters Inc. and author of many books, including How to Look at Art.

Marianne Weems is President of Art Matters Inc.

Philip Yenawine is Chair of Art Matters Inc. and author of many books, including How to Look at Art.

Brian Wallis's many edited collections include Constructing Masculinity and Democracy: A Project by Group Material.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7
Introduction: But What Has Changed? 8
Artist's Project: Talking to Art Matters 24
1 New Approaches to Visual Culture
Artist's Project: "Dear Friend of the Arts" 32
Too Political? Forget It 38
Passionate Irreverence: The Cultural Politics of Identity (1993) 62
Postcards from America: X-Rays from Hell (1989) 74
2 AIDS, Art, and Reaction
What Does Silence Equal Now? 92
How to Have Promiscuity in an Epidemic (1988) 126
3 Demanding Presence: Identity Politics
The Culture War Within the Culture Wars: Race 166
Skin Head Sex Thing: Racial Difference and the Homoerotic Imaginary (1991) 182
4 Censorship and the Chilling Effect
The War on Culture (1989) 220
Homophobia at the N.E.A. (1990) 232
Are Content Restrictions Constitutional? (1992) 235
5 Cultural Policy and Funding for the Arts
The Children of John Adams: A Historical View of the Debate Over Arts Funding 252
Theses on Defunding (1982) 276
The Privatization of Culture (1997) 286
Chronology 308
Contributors 315
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