Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society / Edition 1

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In The Lure of the Local Lucy R. Lippard weaves together cultural studies, history, geography, and contemporary art to provide a fascinating examination of our multiple senses of place.

Divided into five parts—Around Here; Manipulating Memory; Down to Earth: Land Use; The Last Frontiers: Cities and Suburbs; and Looking Around—the book extends far beyond the confines of the art worlds, including issues of community, land use, perceptions of nature, how we produce the landscape, and how the landscape affects our lives. Praised by critics and readers alike, she consistently makes unexpected connections between contemporary art and its political, social, and cultural contexts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Interesting and thoughtful. . . . Her critiques are often delightfully acidic. . . . A solid contribution to popular geography." &#8212Kirkus Reviews

"Lippard has signaled the highest political hopes of art, from her early embrace of ’60s conceptual art to her ’70s support of feminism to her careful documentation in the ’80s of the art of America’s ethnic communities. . . . [The Lure of the Local] arrives at an auspicious time, as interest in community history is on the rise throughout the country. . . . An encyclopedic study of the art of community." &#8212The Oregonian

"An excellent reference guide to recent and historical place-oriented art and activism." &#8212Preservation

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lippard (The Pink Glass Swan), an art writer whose work has appeared in the Village Voice, In these Times and the Nation, has lived a multicentered life. She has migrated from New England to New Orleans to New York City and now divides her time between Galisteo, N.Mex., and Georgetown, Maine. But her book is also multicentered and in her eagerness to address many worthy issues, she has overburdened and diluted it. "This book is not concerned with the history of nature and the landscape but with the historical narrative as it is written in the landscape or place by the people who live or lived there"a very broad mission. In her discussions of maps as a reflection of culture, of place names, of the meaning of a place for exiles and for those longtime descendants, of the manipulation of history, Lippard is an insightful thinker, happily free of most jargon. She is also a wide reader who brings to the discussion entirely apt ideas not only from writers like Jean Baudrillard, Yi-fu Tuan and Howard Kuntsler or Gary Snyder and John Muir, but also from Langston Hughes, Larry McMurtry, Linda Hogan and other writers, artists and local residents. Her sections on the politics of archaeology, on the environment and on site-specific art are good, but it is here that the bagginess of the thesis is most evident. A bi- or even tripartite structure makes the book seem even more diffuse: accompanying the main text, is a running, related narrative of Georgetown where she has returned every summer for 60 years, and 150 images with lengthy captions that parallel the text. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
A discursive look at the ongoing transformation of the American landscape.

Art critic Lippard (Mixed Blessings, not reviewed, etc.) posits that Americans are rapidly losing their sense of place and their local loyalties as a result of the country's fin-de-siècle homogenization, courtesy of look-alike Walmarts and McDonald's, strip malls and housing developments, and thanks as well to hybrid cultural styles that see a new Trump luxury hotel in downtown New York augured in by practitioners of the Chinese art of feng shui, or geomancy. Lippard writes with undisguised nostalgia for a different, more historically aware America; at the top of each text page runs a journal of her life in the little town of Georgetown, Me., where such virtues presumably still obtain. Recognizing that regionalism is a cultural invention and as such somewhat artificial, she explores the possibilities for place-based public art that "has both roots and reach" and that honors local history and mores. She also looks into the prospects for preserving that older, idiomatic, vernacular America while allowing that, given their druthers, most people would often rather build for the future than maintain the past. (Only lack of money keeps them from doing so, she writes, quoting a colleague who observes that "poverty is a wonderful preservative of the past.") Some of her themes—for instance, "alienated displacement" and "the possibility of a multicentered society," whatever that is—grow a little wearisome as they are repeated throughout the text. But on the whole Lippard's narrative is interesting and thoughtful, and her critiques are often delightfully acidic, especially when she deals with enervating planned suburbs and gated communities and the monstrosities that pass for public art today. The more than 150 illustrations in color and black-and-white complement and extend her discussion very nicely.

A solid contribution to popular geography.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565842489
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 8.07 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Lucy R. Lippard is an internationally known writer, activist, and curator. She has authored twenty-three books, has curated more than fifty major exhibitions, and holds nine honorary doctorates of fine arts. Her books include The Lure of the Local, Partial Recall, The Pink Glass Swan, Mixed Blessings, On the Beaten Track, and Overlay, all published by The New Press. Lippard is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the Carolyn Bancroft History Prize from the Denver Public Library and grants from Creative Capital and the Lannan Foundation. She lives in New Mexico.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 2
Permissions 2
Introduction: All Over the Place 4
Pt. I Around Here 21
Pt. II Manipulating Memory 83
Pt. III Down to Earth: Land Use 123
Pt. IV The Last Frontiers: City and Suburbs 193
Pt. V Looking Around 261
Endnotes 293
Bibliography 312
Index 321
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