Here's a piece of schizophrenia.
The Book Review runs Bram Dijkstra's commendatory review of Edwin Mullins' "The Painted Witch: How Western Artists Have Viewed the Sexuality of Women" (Dec. 29). Mullins skewers Western art historians for "their emphasis on form over content, their fashionable unwillingness to consider humane values or moral outrage a legitimate part of the art-evaluative process." One of Mullins' points is that technically fine painting may in fact glorify violence against women.
Then, four weeks later, The Book Review runs "Sid (Vicious) at Hurrah's," by artist Julian Allen, to accompany a review of a Fellini-esque novel (Feb. 2). Allen's painting depicts the brutalization of a woman in a nightclub scene. Onlookers are blase, bored.
What do we have here? One might argue that Allen's painting is in fact a condemnation of violence against women, and a good illustration for the novel reviewed. Maybe so. As a feminist, not an art expert, I only know what I don't like.