12/17/2019

Art’s Establishment

"Entitled by Jennifer Lena, a professor of sociology and arts administration at Columbia, delivers a wonkish look at how strains of popular art in America are coronated objects of sophisticated taste. Her question: By what means is something low-brow made high-brow? Seemingly a rather narrow topic, it touches upon one of the great fault lines in contemporary politics: the relationship between populism and establishment.

For those who hope the populist sensibility of today’s right might permanently shape America’s leading institutions, the book’s “findings” are not encouraging. Entitled concludes that America’s elite firmly controls the ratification process that confers standing on popular arts and lodges those deemed worthy in the nation’s museums and symphony halls. That elite is ensconced in metropolitan foundations, non-profits, and colleges, places where conservatives are thin on the ground."