Bo­hemia Inc.

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“Feel­ing pretty gloomy about the cul­tural scene, [Lee Siegel of the New Repub­lic] mounts a sweep­ing in­dict­ment of his con­tem­po­raries [in his new book, ‘Fall­ing Up­wards’], dis­miss­ing along the way a gen­er­a­tion or two of artists, writ­ers and crit­ics. [. . .] Bo­hemia is just an­other sub­sidiary of the Very Big Cor­po­ra­tion, Inc.; its motto: ‘Get your own, and get it fast, and do it be­hind a vir­tu­ous ap­pear­ance and with an op­ti­mistic air.’

“The ob­sta­cles to un­fet­tered imag­i­na­tion are ev­ery­where: re­al­ity TV, mem­oirs ga­lore, nov­els propped up by his­tor­i­cal ‘re­search’ (‘The Da Vinci Code’) — all ex­am­ples of a cul­ture af­flicted by a per­ni­cious ‘art-sus­pi­cion.’ [. . .]

“His com­plaint is not new: ‘It seems harder and harder to make awork of art that does not con­form to the dic­tates of the triv­i­al­iz­ing me­dia,’ he fumes, ‘or that does not fol­low the lead of mar­ket­ing ex­perts in di­rect con­sul­ta­tion with gallery own­ers and book and mag­a­zine edi­tors.’ Enough of that, he de­clares: ‘The critic’s pas­sion should be to ex­pose the shams, the false con­scious­ness, the clev­erly ac­com­mo­dat­ing pat­ter that are turn­ing ex­pe­di­ence into cul­ture.’ ”

Matthew Price, writ­ing on “The Critic as Pugilist, Cham­pion of High Art,” in the Dec. 25 is­sue of the New York Ob­server

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