GONE ARE THE DAYS when artists in third world countries were helpless to define themselves except by their distance from the artistic center. For the center has lost faith in its centrality, and no longer knows how to lord it over a torrent of diverse inputs, as it once did through the graded culture of Modernism. That imperious belief system, based on a supposed transnational canon of forms, has been humbled—done in by both the runaway success of the ultra-American mass media, soaked up over the world, and the incoming waves of cultures from the colonized margins.

Significantly, the outward movements of communications and the inward thrust of peoples have stemmed from opposite directions. Just the same, as they pass, products from each of their milieux are increasingly crossed with the other, and then again. On the one hand, the ephemeral references and hybrid styles of the pop environment,

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