Art Matters: How the Culture Wars Changed America

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NYU Press, 1999 - Art - 316 pages
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The past decade has seen American culture deeply divided by debates over social identity, public morality, communal values and freedom of expression. A key focus of these polarizing discussions has been the role of visual arts in public life.

In Art Matters, five leading cultural critics and two prominent contemporary artists show the ways that this debate has profoundly reshaped our view of American culture. Lucy Lippard investigates the extraordinary recent transformations in visual art; Michele Wallace takes on high art, popular culture, and African American identity; David Deitcher discusses queer culture and AIDS; Carole S. Vance ponders censorship and sexually explicit imagery; and Lewis Hyde considers democracy and culture. Projects by artists Julie Ault and Andrea Fraser provide a context for these debates.

Art Matters also offers a close examination of attempts to develop alternative funding sources for artists, focusing specifically on the influential private foundation Art Matters-a foundation which became an important proponent for new forms of art and for protecting freedom of expression through its funding and advocacy efforts.


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About the author (1999)

Ault is an artist, curator, and the co-founder of Group Material, a New York-based artists collaborative that has produced more than fifty exhibitions and public projects exploring relationships between politics and aesthetics.

Brian Wallis's many edited collections include Constructing Masculinity and Democracy: A Project by Group Material.

Marianne Weems is President of Art Matters Inc.

Philip Yenawine is Chair of Art Matters Inc. and author of many books, including How to Look at Art.

Philip Yenawine is Chair of Art Matters Inc. and author of many books, including How to Look at Art.

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