Philip Jeffery

Review: ‘The Art of Return’

Remembering the last revolution

Glue Pour (1969) : Holt-Smithson FoundationContemporary visual art has a history problem. It often strikes viewers as disconnected from great works of the past or any kind of context, aiming at originality for originality's sake. What does a barrel of glue poured down a muddy hillside or a light bulb frozen in a cube of ink have to do with art? Fortunately for the perplexed viewer, National Gallery curator James Meyer has noticed the problem. His new book The Art of Return: The Sixties & Contemporary Culture offers a thoughtful account of how art and history inform each other, even in postmodern art.

Review: ‘Primal Screams’ by Mary Eberstadt

Youth use identity politics to cope with boomers' mistakes, family breakdowns

In her new book Primal Screams, Mary Eberstadt manages the nearly impossible: finding something new—and worthwhile—to say about identity politics. It'd be fair to wonder whether we really needed one more take on the topic. Plenty already exist, many of them either to virtue signal or take swings at the easy punching bag that millennials are. But for all that's already been said about identity politics, there's one big question nobody's answered: Why do young people find it so appealing?