Research

Fear not contemporary art

A derisory tone prevails in most media treatment of contemporary art, whether controversial or not, a tone not appropriately skeptical or critically alert but smugly dismissive – and, I suspect, defensive.

This tone reflects little or no effort to imagine the risks of creative work in the postmodern context – the risk of self-deception, of squandering precious time and energy, of embarrassment through self-exposure. Instead, it echoes the tone of anti-intellectualism sounded in every statement in support or denunciation of public policy by every politician who dreads the stigma of “elitism” — and that seems to mean every politician, period.

–Kenneth Baker, “Saving the Soul of Art,” March 2, 2008, SFGate.com

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