The precipitous decline in museum standards over the course of the last quarter century has many sources, the most immediate of which is the uncritical absorption of politically correct values from other so-called disciplines in the humanities. This journal has chronicled these developments with manifest dismay. It is thus with a certain pathetic glee that one can now point to the two titles under review as corroborating evidence of the sheer drop we have witnessed. Of course, those who would benefit most from these fine studies are unlikely to consider their lessons.

In this context, the primary lessons are that we have effectively forsaken the enduring rationale of public museums and that we have foolishly replaced a tragic sense of history with a more playful, experimental approach to exhibiting art. By a tragic sense of history, I mean to suggest the attitude toward the past that motivated earlier...


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