Re: Jews/'60s; Weyth

M Bibby (mwbibb@ARK.SHIP.EDU)
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 12:44:37 -0400 (EDT)

> Thirdly, any responses to Robt. Hughes PBS series and/or book "American
> Visions"? He addressed so-called general intelligent reader, not the art
> person (the type I know more directly). I'm writing a review of it -- would
> like to know if it affected your feelings/thoughts about American art/America.
> Suzaan Boettger

I only saw the last installment on Abstract Exp. to present and found it
to be incredibly insulting and pompous--Hughes's incipient conservatism
and masculinist posturing, I felt, entirely misrepresented post-WW2 art.
Jackson Pollock-Jasper Johns-et al good / Louise Bourgeois-Helen
Frankenthaler bad. "Single issue" political art (read: anything
feminist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic) is junk--ah, but some
chest-beating antiwar art was good!

Hughes totally ignored the incredible diversification of the art scene
since the 1970s--virtually no women, nothing about minorities outside one
token reference (w/cameo by HL Gates), and a remarkable timidity to
discuss "out" gay art since the AIDS crisis. His take was entirely
neo-modernist, essentially claiming that everything since Abst. Exp has
been crap. There were way too many shots of Bobby posturing in front of
the art and making snide comments about the "lower" forms of art. It's
telling that he concluded the show with a focus on gigantic land art
(principally by men). His oversimplifications of 60s culture underscored
his (and I believe the program's) desire to destabilize its significance
and pose the early postwar as the more (muscular) important period.

Michael Bibby
Department of English
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 532-1723