The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, August 14, 2002  

A Shameless Plug for a Reviewer of Ralph Fasanella’s America

A promising young scholar, Dr. Christopher Capozzola (A.B., Harvard College; M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University), assistant professor of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is out with a thoughtful review of an exhibition of the works of the self-taught American painter Ralph Fasanella. The review, entitled “Bread and Roses,” appears in the Sept. 2 issue of In These Times.

A quick teaser:

“The idea of a painter walking around an art gallery wearing a gas station attendant’s shirt with the name ‘Ralph’ stitched above the pocket, spouting off lines like ‘the function of the artist is to disturb,’ is an old cliché -- and embarrassing to anyone but an art school sophomore. At first glance, it would seem that the painter Ralph Fasanella would fit right in among today’s urban hipsters. But Fasanella, who really was a gas station attendant and who really was named Ralph, ought to make such people squirm in their shirts.”

The exhibit is on display at the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art in Orlando, Fla., from Aug. 16 to Nov. 3, after which it will travel to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York.

Dr. Capozzola’s review of the exhibition is not yet available on the web site of In These Times. We urge you to buy a copy of the magazine -- specifically the Sept. 2 issue -- at your local bookstore, newsstand, or food co-op.

[Full disclosure: Dr. Capozzola is a brother of the editor of The Rittenhouse Review.]

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