Last Chance for Eden: Selected Art Criticism, 1979-1994
One of the most significant art critics of the late 20th century, Christopher Knight has developed an entirely new approach to American art and culture. His journalistic writings have a clear line of argument, humor, and a Pop sensibility. With a highly developed ethical code and historical depth, they assert that art is essential to a free and democratic society. The subjects of Knight's 129 jargon-free essays collected here range from African-American textiles and the AIDS Memorial Quilt to the Vatican art collection and the NEA scandal; from Rembrandt van Rijn and Edouard Manet to Edward Ruscha and Mike Kelley. Throughout, Knight puts up a radical defense of images alongside a searing critique of cultural and political institutions. Knight has widened the lens of traditional art criticism, analyzing institutional presentations of exhibitions as a theater critic might: He discusses direction, sets, and plot, letting the public in on information usually possessed only by art-world insiders. Underlying it all is an alternative history of contemporary art, as Knight examines the intricate connections between the fine and popular arts, as seen through this country's first suburban sprawl - Los Angeles.