cover image Art and Otherness: Crisis in Cultural Identity

Art and Otherness: Crisis in Cultural Identity

Thomas McEvilley. Documentext, $20 (174pp) ISBN 978-0-929701-21-9

McEvilley views multiculturalism in the visual arts as a positive force, part of a historic process of decolonialization, as Third World and Eastern European countries struggle to reconstruct their cultural identities. In 10 invigorating essays previously pubished in Artforum, ART/artifact and elsewhere, he assails formalist modernism as a moribund project and seeks ways of relating to the culturally ``other'' free of Eurocentric bias. Beginning with a slashing critique of a 1984 exhibition on primitivism at Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art, McEvilley, a contributing editor to Artforum, goes on to consider the reception of African art in the West, postmodernism as a ``global pluralization'' of art, contemporary exhibition strategies and how painters in India have oscillated between Western-style individualism and the weight of collective tradition. Despite some overlap, these erudite essays reward and challenge with their overarching vision of a global artistic culture. (June)