reviews

  • “The Subversive Charm of the Bourgeoisie”

    Van Abbemuseum

    Like many European and American museums, the Van Abbemuseum was founded by a wealthy industrialist. In “The Subversive Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” artworks and documents from the museum’s collections were combined with recent works that are said to contain “bourgeois elements.” In a Europe beset by discussions about (the need for) a renewal of bourgeois values or of a bourgeois lifestyle, such an exhibition is timely, although it turned out to be at least as confused as those discussions. In the media, the historical—and by now largely defunct—bourgeoisie is often turned into a caricature; various

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