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The Knight Report

June 01, 1997

It's unfortunate Christopher Knight was asked to review Robert Hughes' "American Visions" ("Decline and Gall," May 25). Knight is very adept at pointing out for himself that, yes, he is in fact a "poor schlub" who "might actually enjoy himself amid the faux-classical gewgaws of Las Vegas." Consequently, selecting a critic steeped in the quagmire of cultural vapidity makes it difficult to achieve an accurate appraisal of Hughes' efforts.


Long Beach


Knight's "Right Here, Right Now" (May 18) properly highlights the vibrancy of the visual arts in L.A. at the threshold of the new millennium. His tribute to the city's artistic dynamism is a welcome antidote to the narrow and smug provincialism of too many East Coast critics and their sycophants throughout the country.

Still, his list of noteworthy artists leaves much to be desired, and his total disregard of the African American artistic community is troublesome. His article ignores the extensive community of black artists of all generations and artistic mediums, scores of whom have contributed powerfully to the region's artistic renaissance.


Center for African

American Studies, UCLA


I was pleased by Knight's optimistic evaluation of the L.A. art scene. Yet, as accurate as I find his observation, I find his omission of the strong independent women artists' movement centered around L.A. in the '70s, and the artworks coming out of it, astonishing. In particular, Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party" had one of the strongest worldwide impacts of any contemporary work of art.

In an age of diversity awareness, Knight's bias leaves me uncomfortable, angry and, fortunately, not speechless.




Knight's Clement Greenbergian way of thinking--that is, a thing is true just because he and his contemporaries say so--has not been accepted in the marketplace of ideas where we all live. It is only accepted in the ivory towers of elitists like Knight.



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