Roger’s Rules

The Persisitence of Rubbish, or How to Wreck a Civilization Without Really Trying

Future anthropologists, pouring over the ruins of our civilization, are going to come up with some curious hieroglyphics. Consider what is happening at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The Clark, as anyone who has visited it knows, is a fetching small museum set in a picture-perfect New England town. It has a handful of important pictures and quite a few agreeable if second-rate ones. Alas, like most other institutions entrusted with preserving and transmitting the cultural patrimony of our civilization, it now operates as a sort of wrecking ball. Consider this bulletin about an upcoming event at the Clark:

March 13, 2008


For Immediate Release

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA- The complex and controversial subject of the relationship between homosexuality, queer theory and queer studies, and the discipline of art history will be discussed at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Saturday, April 5, at 5:30 pm, during the Clark Conversation “How Queer is Art History?”. Admission to the conversation is free.

In recent years, queer theory has challenged some basic premises of the humanities. A group of scholars who are pioneers of thinking about how sexual identity influences the way people write about art history and the way art is made and understood have met during a two-day colloquium to discuss these topics. This public conversation will be a summary of scholars’ findings.

There you have it, folks: the cream of our great nation’s scholarly talent in art history, conjuring with the important question, “How Queer is Art History?” The world waits with breath bated for the answer to this pressing interrogation. After learning about the “findings” of these “scholars” I hope someone will propound the equally challenging question, namely “How Long Will the Public Put Up With Such Rubbish Masquerading as Serious Inquiry?” That is a conversation I would dearly like to hear.

Meanwhile, here is the press contact for the Clark: [email protected] or (413) 458-0471: give ’em a buzz and let them know what you think this “controversial subject.”