Sign in  |  Register

The New Criterion

America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life
- Harry Mount, the London Telegraph

Notes & Comments

November 1996

Nothing sacred

On Andres Serrano's jacket art for the reissue of Richmond Lattimore's translation of the New Testament

Is there any aspect of our cultural life that will remain unsullied by the filth of the so-called avant-garde? We say “so-called” because it has been clear for some time that what masquerades as the artistic avant-garde today is mostly an insidious form of moral insurrection that poaches on the prestige of art in order to carry out with impunity its raids on custom, decency, and standards of taste.

The large-scale results of this assault are too obvious and too numerous to require comment. We have all of us to some extent become inured to a culture where viciousness and depravity are simply taken for granted, like some hideous wallpaper that we have lived with for years. It still happens, however, that some particularly rebarbative incident or phenomenon will break in upon our moral anesthesia and, at least momentarily, shatter our insensitivity. Curiously, it is often something offhand and, in itself, quite ins ...

This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase

Subscribe to TNC (Print and Online editions)

Subscribe to TNC (Online only)

Purchase article credit and clip this article

If you already have an account login first

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 15 November 1996, on page 3

Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion |

E-mail to friend

The New Criterion

You might also enjoy

The New Criterion on poetry

On the current state of poetry

Soft power meets hard fact

The failings of a soft power approach to Russia

But is it art?

On art: context, meaning, and vandalism

Most popular

view more >

Subscribe to our newsletter!

* indicates required


Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
Roger Kimball introduces The Kennedy Phenomenon, a conference presented by The New Criterion on Tuesday, November 19.

The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
Roger Kimball reads Peter Collier’s paper on oft-overlooked unsavory details of the Kennedys' lives. Much of the paper is drawn from Collier’s book, coauthored with David Horowitz, The Kennedys: An American Drama.

The Kennedy Phenomenon: "The Many Misjudgments of Richard Hofstadter"
Fred Siegel discusses his new book The Revolt against the Masses and the myriad oversights of the historian Richard Hofstadter.