Cultural Excursions: Marketing Appetites and Cultural Tastes in Modern America

Neil Harris, Author University of Chicago Press $65 (462p) ISBN 978-0-226-31757-1
These 17 works by a University of Chicago history professor and author of The Artist in American Society are ``essays'' in a splendid sense: the entertaining record of an astute observer venturing into American cultural history in search of meanings and patterns. The first section looks into the historical roles of cultural institutions as educators, conservators and avatars of progress p. 94 . Harris compares art museums, for instance, with world's fairs and department stores as ``merchandisers of taste.'' p. 52 The second group of essays touches on ``the boundaries and intersections of cultures and media'' with topics as varied as utopian fiction, the consumer as a social type in American novels, and John Philip Sousa's singular talent and stunning commercial success in combining popular and classical music. In the last pieces Harris considers ``the social history of art and architecture,'' through subjects ranging from the rise of shopping malls to the shift of art patronage from wealthy individuals to wealthy corporations. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
Paperback - 462 pages - 978-0-226-31758-8
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