WHOSE ART IS IT? by Jane Kramer


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 Selections from Kramer's superb ``Letter from Europe'' series in the New Yorker--challenging, informative models of intellectual journalism for the general reader--have been collected in several books (Europeans, 1988, etc.). This single-article reprint launches Public Planet Books, a series edited by Kramer, Dilip Gaonkar (Rhetoric/Univ. of Illinois), and Michael Warner (English/Rutgers) that aims to ``combine reportage and critical reflection on unfolding issues and events.'' This short volume is Kramer's account of the furor provoked by white artist John Ahearn's sculptures of residents of the South Bronx--one of New York City's urban ruins. Kramer's article (originally published in the New Yorker), which prompted charges of racism and stereotyping, touches on the hyper-charged subjects of multiculturalism and political correctness. The author addresses these questions with her customary sensitivity to nuance and the human dimensions of social issues. Rutgers University dean Catharine R. Stimpson (Where the Meanings Are: Feminism and Cultural Spaces, not reviewed) provides an introduction that, while not as elegantly written as Kramer's text, usefully puts the debate into historical context.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-8223-1535-1
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Duke Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994


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