"Joshua Reynolds: The Creation
of Celebrity" Tate Modern, London.
May 26-September 18, 2005

"Frida Kahlo"
Tate Modern, London.
June 9-October 9, 2005

Anyone interested in the sociology of taste could hardly do better than visit London at the moment, where what used to be known as the Tate Gallery is offering two exhibitions, the first of portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the second of works by Frida Kahlo. It will probably not come as any great surprise to readers to learn that the public for these two exhibitions is different, socially, demographically and, above all, culturally.

The public for the Joshua Reynolds is small, elderly, and conservative, or at least conservatively dressed. Although the exhibition has been given a title to ensnare the young—“The Creation of Celebrity,” with its suggestio falsi that there is nothing much to choose...