The Whitney Fiasco & the Critics
Among the more interesting aspects of the ongoing culture war is the fact that the avant-garde, which one might have thought would be off the map by this late stage in the 20th century, continues to cause problems. Robert Mapplethorpe, Bret Easton Ellis, Camille Paglia, Ice-T—such provocateurs have demonstrated that people are still ready to get worked up about art, literature, and aesthetics generally.
Consider, for instance, the dramatic way in which the contemporary art world of New York managed to make a spectacle of itself this past winter and spring. In this case the terrible infants happened to be sprawled all over the Whitney Museum, the occasion for their bad behavior being the 1993 Biennial—though the scene of the irrationality could just as easily have been Los Angeles or Cleveland, since outrageous and unforgivable things have been exhibited in museums all over the country for the last several years.
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