Art historian Thomas composed the following article which has served as a leading light in creating multiculturalism which has cemented McEvilley place in art history. McEvilley utilizes these superbly crafted letters send to the editor of Artforum as a protest against the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). In addition to blasting the Museum of Modern Art, the author also condemns how the entire art-historical infrastructure. It is clear from the authors writing that he harbored significant hostilities towards the functioning of MoMA and the role it played in modern art. McEvilley begins by describing the ironical display or exhibition of one hundred and fifty modern works complemented by two hundred tribal objects. The author then outlines the presentations by William Rubin of the Department of Painting and Sculpture who was more inclined on modernism and rejected the idea of objective aesthetic value. Rubin appreciated art that emphasized intellect, content and social criticism. Rubin’s exhibition, in collaboration with Kirk Varnedoe, an art historian, placed emphasis on the notion that the course of modern art was shaped by the presence of primitive art. According to the author, Rubin’s exhibition is a pinnacle of upheld modernism and withheld primitivism. It is, however, vital to grasp that in many instances, the primitive objects can be the cream of the crop, an appeal that the Western arts may not possess. Also, the presentation of the objects can cause increased attention on the primitive arts.
According to the author, American and European art history was guilty of manipulating third world arts and their artists. He insists that Western art history utilizes the arts from the third world as stepping stones while also considering the artists as the footnotes that create or produce Western art history. Museum of modern art subjects these assumptions to the arts and the artists of the third world devoid of any recognition of the cultures of Asia and Africa. McEvilley emphasizes how art from the third world, namely from Asia and Framework is never given the respect availed to other arts and artists around the whole. The author uses the article to illustrate how African and Asian works are rarely offered any recognition in the wider context but are often utilized as the elevators of Western art which is often presented as the masterpiece and the virtuosity to tribal art’s perpetual role as an antecedent. In essence, the tribal and discriminatory nature of the Museum of Modern Art through their preference and bias for Western art evoked disdain from McEvilley.
The author has many arguments in the article which coincide with his desires relating to art. “Doctor, Lawyer Indian Chief’s main argument was how the “primitivism” in the 20th century Art curation only served to depict tribal arts. Such arts were placed or displayed devoid of any labels and also lacking in any wall text then placed alongside pieces that were considered modernist. As such, due to these circumstances, the museum only served to strengthen the superiority of the Western culture. Also, they faced a challenge referring to this third world art, as the more appropriate name for them was “artifacts.” In the article, following the author’s argument, it invoked no signs of abstruse philosophical claims nor was the critique meant to implicate only a single exhibition. McEvilley offered an outlook and an indictment of how the Museum of Modern Art (most important museum) was more devoted to modernism neglecting any traces of tradition.