SMART CASUAL: THE TRANSFORMATION OF GOURMET RESTAURANT STYLE IN AMERICA is a cultural history of profound changes to the style of fine-dining restaurants in the United States since the 1970s. How do we explain their evolution from those hushed scenes of chandeliers and closed kitchens, jacket-and-tie dress and Continental cuisine, to clamorous places where diner-style decor and hamburgers are no longer impediments to a Michelin star...or two? And how do we reconcile this shift with the simultaneous rise of new formalities, such as the elaboration of tasting-menu rituals? While these currents may seem contradictory, SMART CASUAL considers them both parts of a cohesive "omnivorous" turn in gourmet taste whose leading tastemakers are star chefs and the "foodies" who love them. The book takes readers to the key dining rooms, people, and trends that mark the rise of omnivorous preferences, and considers the changes in taste in light of broader shifts in the definition of elite social status.
American art of the 1980s is as misunderstood as it is notorious. Critics of the time feared that market hype and self-promotion threatened the integrity of art. They lashed out at contemporary art, questioning the validity of particular media and methods and dividing the art into opposing camps. While the controversies have since subsided, critics still view art of the 1980s as a stylistic battlefield. UNPACKAGING ART OF THE 1980s rejects this picture, which is truer of the period's criticism than of its art.
The book reassesses the works and careers of six artists who became critics' biggest targets: Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Peter Halley, and Jeff Koons. The artists shared important but unrecognized influences and approaches: a crucial and overwhelming inheritance of 1960s and 1970s Conceptualism, a Warholian understanding of public identity, and a deliberate and nuanced use of past styles and media. They exemplified a broader, generational shift unacknowledged by critics--one that started not in the 1980s but in the mid-1970s, when key developments in artistic style, art-world structures, and consumer culture converged to radically alter the course of American art.
Co-authored with Elizabeth A.T. Smith and Julie Rodrigues Widholm with contributions by many others, LIFE DEATH LOVE HATE PLEASURE PAIN is a comprehensive catalogue of the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.