Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

  • WHO'S BAD? ACCOUNTING FOR TASTE

    WHAT DO AEROSOL CHEESE, Liberace, tattoos, chihuahuas, and feminine hygiene spray have in common? Those who consider them bad taste. The diverse social locations from which they come make Spam, ant farms, face-lifts, low riders, and Lawrence Welk incommensurate as a set. They have nothing in common other than their relationship to the canon of good taste, which is what gives bad taste its coherence as a category. Bad taste is one of the ways in which good taste announces itself—the finger that points to the breach points to the rule. The connoisseurship of bad taste reveals more about the arbiter

  • Producing Ellis Island

    HOW DOES a federal office become a shrine? From 1892 until 1924, millions of steerage passengers passed through Ellis Island as quickly as possible without looking back. Today even more recreational immigrants will board Miss Freedom and other official Ellis Island boats provided by “America’s Favorite Boatride,” the Circle Line. They will participate in the founding myth of our time, “America’s great immigrant heritage,” through the trope of retracing the steps of those who came to the “promised land” before them.

    Never an icon like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island was an aperture, not a

  • Edible Art

    The Futurist Cookbook, by F.T. Marinetti, introduction by Lesley Chamberlain, translation from the Italian by Suzanne Brill. San Francisco: Bedford Arts, 1989, 160 pp., 40 photographs and line drawings, $29.95 cloth, $19.95 paper. (The recent reprint edition of La Cucina Futurista [Milan: Longanesi & Co., 1986] attributes authorship jointly to Filippo Tommaso Marinetti [1876–1944] and Fillìa, pseudonym for Luigi Colombo [1904–1936]

    . . . men think, dream and act according to what they eat and drink.

    —Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

    FUTURIST CUISINE WAS LAUNCHED by F. T. Marinetti from a radio microphone