Orientalism

The Cover of Edward Said's Orientalism (1978) Vijay Prashad Thu, 11/30/2017 - 10:22
Gerome's The Snake Charmer
Gerome's The Snake Charmer

 

A week ago, I was at the Clark Museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It is an odd museum, the collection of the heirs of the Singer Sewing Machine fortune. There is no overarching character to the collection - impressionists here and there, modernists here and there, tea pots and silver platters in another room. It is a collection of wealth - where what was bought was purchased because there was money on the table, not necessarily ideas to guide the curation.

Turning into the main room, one is struck by a very moving painting by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) fr