PRINT November 1984

Doctor Lawyer Indian Chief

SOMETHING, CLEARLY, IS AFOOT. Richard Oldenburg, director of the institution here, describes one of its publications and the exhibition it accompanies, both titled “‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern,” as “among the most ambitious ever prepared by The Museum of Modern Art.” “Over the years,” he continues, “this Museum has produced several exhibitions and catalogues which have proved historically important and influential, changing the ways we view the works presented, answering some prior questions and posing new ones.”1 Indeed, this is an important event. It focuses on materials that bring with them the most deeply consequential issues of our time. And it illustrates, without consciously intending to, the parochial limitations of our world view and the almost autistic reflexivity of Western civilization’s modes of relating to the culturally Other.


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