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Feast of ExcessA Cultural History of the New Sensibility$
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George Cotkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190218478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218478.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

The Shock of the Old—and New

Chapter:
(p.333) Conclusion
Source:
Feast of Excess
Author(s):

George Cotkin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218478.003.0026

The New Sensibility did not end in the 1970s, with the downturn in the American economy. It had by then been incorporated fully into our culture. First, focusing on the continuing challenge of John Cage, Lou Reed’s work in a Cage mode, and the rise of punk, this chapter shows the vitality of the New Sensibility in the 1970s, and continues the examination through the 1980s to the present. Today, a culture of excess, with attention riveted on madness, violence, sexuality, confession, confusion of realms between high and low culture, and liberation, has become pervasive. The argument here is that the New Sensibility, when it is allowed freedom to breathe, and when it is cognizant of the essential tension between “liberation and limits,” to use a phrase offered by historian Roger Shattuck, can continue to resonate in the most valuable fashion. This type of success is demonstrated by Kara Walker’s monumental work of art A Subtlety.

Keywords:   John Cage, Lou Reed, punk, reality television, Kara Walker, Jeff Koons

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