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What Do We Want History to Do to Us? (nybooks.com)
33 points by prismatic 4 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments





Wow! At work, so can't read to completion, but what a deep and sympathetic look at some of the aspects of Kara Walker's very challenging body of work.

For once, teach us to stop repeating it.

ROI is a beat weak methinks.

Maybe teach us compassion.

[flagged]


Sure, it's loaded with abject horror, presented humorously. I can't say that I "like" it, in the sense of enjoying it, any more than I enjoy images from more recent atrocities. But I think that it's valuable, in that it makes all that stuff more real. And at least she doesn't do photorealism.

However, I don't think it's useful to use history to demonize the descendants of the perpetrators. As I see it, it's not individual people -- let alone their descendants -- who are evil. It's arguably cultures that are evil, and all involved are arguably victims.


Not only does the article directly address your criticism, but Zadie Smith, the author, is no white leftist.

We do understand that you do not like Walker's art, and seem to be trying to make others feel bad for liking it. Maybe we can just critique the art itself?

On what authority do you define art for all of us? Why does your definition of art have to be all of our definition?


> We do understand that you do not like Walker's art, and seem to be trying to make others feel bad for liking it. Maybe we can just critique the art itself?

My theory is that people don't actually like it, they just understand that they're supposed to say they like it. Also, I did critique the art itself.

> On what authority do you define art for all of us? Why does your definition of art have to be all of our definition?

My comment expresses my opinion about what art is and what makes it worthwhile. I don't want "define art for all of us" or to force other people to conform to my opinion in any way. But I wouldn't mind convincing other people.


I like Kara Walker's art. Quite a bit actually.

Would you hang it on your wall?

Does all art I enjoy have to hang on my wall?

I no longer see any reason to continue this conversation; you're just trying to attack me.


> Does all art I enjoy have to hang on my wall?

No but I think "would I hang this on my wall?" is a fairly good metric for "do I like this". I've been in situations where I lied and said "I like this art" because I felt socially obligated. My argument is that there's a distinction between "what I say I like" and "what I actually like".

> I no longer see any reason to continue this conversation; youre just trying to attack me.

I'm not trying to attack you. I'm sorry it came off that way.




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