Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Exhibitionism : art in an era of intolerance by Lynne Munson. very good
Munson, a cultural critic and researcher at the American Enterprise Institute and a former official at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), takes the "culture wars" of the 1990s and their origins as her topics. Though not dissecting the Battle at Tilted Arc, the Siege of Piss Christ, Mapplethorpe's Last Stand, the Finley Offensive, and the Great Dung War, Munson uses these and other examples from the decade to demonstrate that postmodern thought is the real intolerance at work in the arts. It is postmodernism, a cousin of deconstructionism, she argues, that turned art away from a search for truth or a range of aesthetics and into a study of power. Munson's solid scholarship is supported by her insider's knowledge of NEH funding patterns (appendixes track grants from broad support for the arts to more focused support for video and performance artists who often led the effort to critique society). Munson builds her case carefully and offers a fresh viewpoint absent from the media snippets. Her book makes a significant contribution to the always heated and never resolved discussion of "offensive" art. Recommended for general and topical collections. David Bryant, New Canaan Lib., CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.