PRINT February 1997


Raw Deal


To the editor:

In his review of The Return of the Real [“Bürger Helper,” Bookforum], Charles Harrison misrepresents my book with a vengeance. What motivates this vengeance I cannot say; perhaps my omission of artists he has long championed—such as Art & Language—upset him. Harrison is English, I am American, and we are of different generations. I announce my situation as a critic based in New York in the first pages of my book; Harrison never reveals his in his review. Lest his personal positioning (or pique) stand as a public account of my book, let me correct but four of his major misrepresentations.

1. Harrison charges that I subsume art and criticism to cultural studies (I suppose he means the American version). In fact my book is a critique of this surrender, which is announced in the introduction and developed in chapter six. This chapter (“The Artist as Ethnographer”) contests

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