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David Joselit talks with Thomas Crow

THIS SUMMER THOMAS CROW will become the director of what is undoubtedly the most influential and best-funded art-historical think tank in the United States: the Getty Research Institute (GRI) in Los Angeles. Crow, who is relinquishing his chairmanship of Yale’s distinguished art history department to lead the GRI, is one of the most prominent scholars in the field today. His work has addressed the entire span of modern art, from its origins in eighteenth-century France to its supposed demise in Conceptual art of the 1960s and ’70s. As a social historian of art, Crow has made important theoretical contributions to questions such as the role of art in the public sphere, and the often vexed relation between mass culture and modernism. In Crow, then, the Getty is getting an extremely respected academic who is outspoken in his assessments of art-historical methodologies and their relationship

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