Acts of Engagement: Writings on Art, Criticism, and Institutions, 1993-2002

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Rowman & Littlefield, Jan 1, 2004 - Art - 303 pages
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Acts of Engagement brings together writings spanning the extraordinarily eventful ten-year after the author left The New York Times, where he had been an art critic from 1982 to 1991. The writings fall into three broad areas: art, art criticism, and arts and cultural institutions. In each area, Brenson finds it imperative to consider issues such as responsibility, creativity, process, and voice issues that have taken on increasing urgency as corporate culture has overcome almost every aspect of American life. If we are to understand and come to terms with the violent shift from multiculturalism to privatization and the difficult if not precarious situation American art and culture are now in, we must engage the key words that define the book's four sections: language, identity, audience, and power. In Brenson's catalogue and book essays, and in his short addresses and comprehensive lectures lie a wealth of historical knowledge, connoisseurship, political and social commentary, philosophical speculation, and an impassioned dedication to the value of artists and the visual arts. The book ranges from a detailed examination of a single popular masterpiece, to an appreciation of the potential everyday impact of artists as people, to analyses of the art world system and of sweeping social and institutional changes. Acts of Engagement addresses the fundamental humanity and necessity of the visual arts: what they are about, why they matter, and the challenges and dangers they face.
  

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Contents

Fighting Words
21
Experience Complicity and Quality
29
Conversation
39
Juan Munoz Sound Sight Statuary
47
Art Criticism and the Aesthetic Response
65
Identity
73
Where Do We Go from Here? The Place of the Artist and the NEA
75
Resisting the Dangerous Journey The Crisis of Journalistic Criticism
83
Audience Artist Institution Community
159
Maya Lins Time
167
Sometimes Out of Sight Never Out of Mind The Story of the Hand in Modernist Sculpture
191
Giacomettis Dog
215
Power Corrupts For Daumier Humanity Was in the Streets
239
Magdalena Abakanowiczs War Games Monumental Horizontality
245
The Media and Museums
257
Convenience and Process Private versus Public Arts Funding
263

Art Museums and The Public
99
The Curators Moment
117
The Artist as Person
133
Audience
141
Healing in Time
143
The Guggenheim Corporate Populism and the Future of the Corporate Museum
277
About the Author
299
Credits
301
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About the author (2004)

Michael Brenson is on the faculty at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College. He lives in Accord, New York.

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