Steven Tepper, Not Here, Not Now, Not That! Protest over Art and Culture in America
Not Here, Not Now, Not That! Protest over Art and Culture in America
Steven J. Tepper
Tepper makes a strong argument that arts protests are good for democracy and not simply collateral damage from the so‐called culture wars. He suggests that the art world has too often tried to silence its critics and that a 21st century approach to arts conflicts requires balancing the needs of artists with the needs of the community. He argues that art is most relevant when people care enough to fight over it. Communities are healthiest when people have avenues for expressing their hopes and fears. Fights over art provide the democratic space to negotiate differing views of community life and community identity.
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As former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, I am no stranger to arts conflicts. Fights over art, especially at the national level, tend to follow a familiar script, with the arts serving as a punching bag for enterprising politicians, religious leaders and artists who are trying to mobilize constituents, raise money, or build reputations. But, there is another story that needs to be told. Citizens and neighbors fight over art – largely outside the glare of the national spotlight – as a way to shape together the identity and future of their communities. While these local battles can be acrimonious and polarizing, they are also essential to how we work out our differences in a democracy.
I recommend this book. It will challenge how you think about conflict, censorship, the First Amendment, the culture wars and arts policy. With protests over art and media erupting daily, this is exactly the book we should be discussing as we think about the role of art in the 21st Century.
-Bill Ivey, Director of Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy
This is an impressive achievement. Its rich analysis of data from media sources and surveys is by far the best evidence anywhere about the nature and extent of cultural conflicts involving the arts. The extensive city-by-city comparisons contribute importantly to our understanding of local variations and the effects of local conditions on these conflicts. I highly recomment this valuable and engaging book.
-Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University
There has been a great deal written over the last several decades about the so-called culture wars and related issues of art, arts policy, and artistic censorship. Tepper’s book, by deploying the analytical and empirical tools of modern sociology and avoiding the advocacy and name-calling so characteristic of these controversies, has provided new insights and new data on a topic about which it had seemed there was nothing more to be said. The book is an important and much-needed addition to the literature on arts policy.
-Frederick Schauer, University of Virginia
Read articles by Steven Tepper:
“Lets Get Serious About Cultivating Creativity,” Chronicle of Higher Education.
“Iron Cage of Accountabilility,” Inside Higher Ed.
“Groups or Gatherings“, International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations.
“Uncle Henry is wrong. There is a lot you can do with that degree.” Huffington Post.