For more than a decade, we have devoted a large portion of our December issue to the visual arts. We do so again this year, with a number of reviews and essays assembled by our Executive Editor James Panero on a wide variety of subjects, from the cut-outs of Henri Matisse to the “new” New Brutalism in architecture to how the Brooklyn Museum has failed Brooklyn art. Marco Grassi accompanies Philippe de Montebello, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, around some of the world’s great museums, and Victoria Coates meditates on the way democracies throughout the ages have enlisted art in their pursuit of the ideal of responsible self-governance. Readers alarmed by the skyrocketing cost of visiting many museums today will be interested in the cold eye Daniel Grant casts upon that unedifying phenomenon, while anyone concerned about the fate of our public spaces will want to turn to the astringent essay by Bruce Cole, the former Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities, who anatomizes Frank Gehry’s proposed travesty for a monument honoring Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, D.C. We are pleased once again to be able to bring such a cornucopia of incisive reflections on art to our readers. In years gone by, this special section was made possible by support from some of our co-conspirators, including the late Helen Frankenthaler, a dear friend of The New Criterion. This year, we are deeply grateful for the generous interventions of Bobbie Foshay, Alex and Mary Ross, and the J. M. Foundation, which made our special section on art possible. Thank you one and all.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 33 Number 4, on page 3
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