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Exhibiting Contradiction Paperback – February 24, 1998

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews


"For trustees, philanthropists, and cultural policy makers willing to invest the intellectual effort, reading these powerfully presented essays will pay dividends, for they provide the essential historical background to the persistent questions about the purpose, social value, and future direction of the art museum in America."―Winterthur Portfolio

"An interesting exploration of just how far the museum has changed since its 19th century role as 'preservator of the arts.' Required reading for artist and/or artlover."―Art Times

"Wallach's points are in general well taken and always interesting. Clear enough for undergraduates and theoretically rich enough for senior scholars, this enjoyable book should be of interest to a wide audience."―Journal of American History

"In a series of focused studies spanning a century and a half, Wallach illuminates key episodes in the ideological formation of the American art museum and the role of museums in shaping our perception of art. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the author, he makes a strong argument for the centrality and enduring symbolic power of the museum in our culture."―Andrew McClellan, Tufts University

"These powerful essays casat new light on the history of both art and museums in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America. The collection will be of interest to a wide range of scholars, museum professionals, and lay readers."―Kenneth Myers, New Jersey Historical Society

About the Author

Alan Wallach is Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art and Art History and professor of American studies at the College of William and Mary.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (February 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155849118X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558491182
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Katha Pollitt on September 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
"Exhibiting Contradictions" is a terrific collection. It may well be unique in its field, moreover, for containing NO academic jargon. No sites are contested, no subject positions are occupied. Amazing! The clear writing makes it an excellent book both for specialists and for those with a general interest in art and art history, the changing role of museums, and the quote-unquote politicization of art. My favorite essays was the one on the exhibit of Art about the American West at the Smithsonian a few years ago, which caused such a huge flap because it challenged the myth of the Romance of the West. I also was fascinated by the essay on plaster-cast museums, a now forgotten institution of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century. But the whole collection is very satisfying, full of ideas and knowledge. Wallach has very interesting things to say about the role of the museum in contemporary life -- part shopping mall, part leisure-time scene , part--still! -- otherworldly repository of the Timeless and Eternal.
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