New York

“Rooms With A View”

Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos

“Rooms with a View,” curated by Fred Wilson and designed by Curt Belshe and Lise Prown, was a richly textured, seriocomic interrogation of the cultural and esthetic codes of three types of stereotypical museum spaces, installed, with fine irony, in the old P.S. 39 building in the Bronx. The views in question were those of the turn-of-the-century Salon, the Modernist “white box,” and the ethnographic museum, addressing “the struggle between culture, content, and the context of art.” What is particularly to the point is that in cross-referencing from one space to another, a politicized ethnographic incision was performed on our own cultural assumptions (an operation that we usually reserve for others under the fiction of neutral scholarship), providing an important distance from which to engage in a little self-reflection.

The turn-of-the-century Salon: a softly lit, comfortable room, lined

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