The Permanent War for Culture

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When telling the truth amounts to a critique

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he late and much-feared New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer was once seated next to Woody Allen at a dinner. Allen asked whether Kramer ever felt embarrassed when he encountered in social settings artists whose work he had disparaged in print. No, said Kramer. Why should he be embarrassed? They made the bad art. He merely described it. It occurred to the critic after the party had concluded that he had once published an adverse review of an Allen movie, The Front.

Forty years ago, Kramer founded The New Criterion, which was taken over in his declining years by Roger

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