PRINT November 1976




Nancy Marmer’s “L.A. 1976: The Dark Underside” (Artforum, Summer 1976) raises a crucial issue in contemporary art, criticism and art history. Ms. Marmer is a sensitive, intelligent and extremely literate observer of West Coast art, and I have no argument with her evaluation of specific objects. Nonetheless, her article revealed a critical bias present in much contemporary art criticism and art history that deserves to be challenged. While agreeing with her identification of the basic conservatism of the “L.A. 8” exhibition organized by Maurice Tuchman at the Los Angeles County Museum, I seriously question the issues she raised concerning the “Imagination” show at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art.

A succinct but accurate statement of the idea that dominated her article is that “formalist,” “modernist,” “New York” and “International” art is “renewal,” “discovery” and a “

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