Battleground Art: Revisiting the Culture Wars in Cincinnati

“It’s hard to imagine a better time or place than this election year and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati to mount the exhibition ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors: Politics in U.S. Art of the 1980’s.’ What more symbolic venue could there be for a show about yesteryear’s culture wars? It was the Contemporary, after all, that was besieged in 1990 when its then director, Dennis Barrie, was hauled into county court for ‘pandering obscenity’ after showing Robert Mapplethorpe’s homoerotic photographs. Cincinnati remains a conservative redoubt in a battleground state. But the selection of paintings, sculptures, videos and photographs in this show — on view through Nov. 21 in Zaha Hadid‘s acclaimed new building — feels like a brave attempt by a rejuvenated institution to confront its local audience, and perhaps at the same time begin to repair the city’s reputation for cultural provincialism.”

More here from the New York Times.