Brandeis, What’s the Big Deal?
The NY Times ran a story the other day about a Palestinian artist’s exhibit at Brandeis University. The article heading is, Palestinian Artwork at Brandeis. I’m not kidding. Now, I don’t expect much from the Times‘ arts section anymore, but for some reason this made me pause a bit and wonder why this exhibition was worth a mention at all. The article is obviously not based on the art work’s merit. Based on the Times‘ description, the work seems, at best, to be a visual representation of an NPR story; at worst, a cliche of every first-year art student’s reading of post-colonial theory. I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Well, I just read David Bernstein’s blog entry over at the Volokh Conspiracy and he pretty much hits the naked emperor on his head.
We know what we do now will attract lots of attention,” said Christopher Bedford, the new director of the [Rose art ] museum. “We want to capitalize on that attention.” Bedford, I’m guessing, contacted the Times (personally or through a P.R. rep.) to try to manufacture a controversy, and thus attention. The Times played along, but couldn’t find much to say, and was left to vaguely accuse pro-Israel students at Brandeis of not wanting to “engage” the Palestinian narrative. Pretty pathetic, if I’m right.
I think Bernstein’s right. What do you think?