Theodore Prescott, Bruce Herman, James Romaine, Bruce Ellis Benson, and James Elkins
The Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art
The art historian James Elkins tells of his experience as one of four jurors for the 1990 exhibition "Revelations: Artists Look at Religions." It was a big show with several famous artists in it, including Andres Serrano, the maker of Piss Christ. But the jurors also had to slog through hundreds of submissions, looking at slides, reading statements, and scanning résumés. It was a daunting, numbing job. One submission caught their attention, and they were ready to accept it until they learned the artist was a nun, and her work, which the jurors had found quirky, was her vision of heaven. "Oh God," moaned one of the jurors, and they voted it down. Elkins was the only one to vote for it: "I wanted to accept it because it was religious, and religion was supposedly our theme."
This experience started Elkins thinking about "the exclusion of religious meaning in contemporary art," the subject of his book On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art, published in 2004 by Routledge. Elkins, who holds the E. C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, is a prolific—one is tempted to say profligate—scholar (see JamesElkins.com).
Anyone familiar with modern and contemporary art knows of its dearth of historic religious subjects and themes. Christianity, one of the great incubators of imagery in Western art, is notably but not entirely absent. When Christian subjects do appear, they are often treated—as with Piss Christ—in a transgressive and sensationalist manner. In On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art, Elkins gives an account of the decline of religious art, which by the beginning of the 20th century was effectively gone. Any art with religious imagery found in canonical modernity, Elkins insists, isn't really religious. So Salvador Dali's popular St. John of the Cross is not as much religious as it is "a matter of Dali's 'paranoiac-critical' surrealist method." By Elkins' account, religious subjects must be presented in a mode that is ironic, ambiguous, skeptical, or critical to qualify as art today. He acknowledges that outside the art world "there is a tremendous amount of religious art," but concludes his brief history of religion and art on this note: "As a rule ambitious, successful contemporary fine art is thoroughly non-religious. Most religious art—I'm saying this bluntly here because it needs to be said—is just bad art."
To understand Elkins' judgments, it is important to know his definitions and purposes. The purposes were to "see if it is possible to adjust the existing discourses enough to make it possible to address both secular theorists and religionists," and to help students who are unaware of the religious resonances in their work. He characterizes the art world as a place "that is at once thronged with strong beliefs and nearly silent."
Elkins defines religion as "a named, non-cultic, major system of belief. In the art world … the religion in question is often Catholicism, and sometimes Protestantism. Rarely is it Judaism. Even more rarely, is it Islam or Buddhism." He distinguishes spirituality from religion because spirituality is private, subjective, often silent, and possibly unconscious. Religion may have spirituality, but spirituality need not be religious.
His definition of art is "institutional," encompassing the contents of galleries, museums, and publications devoted to contemporary art. It is not a preexisting philosophic definition applied to art but rather a description of prevailing acts and beliefs. One important aspect of his definition is that contemporary fine art is not just one kind of art amid other different but equal arts. It is the source of art, and all other kinds of art are derivative. He knows this is controversial, but argues that "quality and significance" as well as priority, invention, and history all belong to fine art, which influences the course and content of the other arts. This is one basis for his judgment that contemporary religious art doesn't pass muster, since it is often derivative of earlier fine art.
In October 2007, New York's School of Visual Arts hosted a conference on Art Education, Religion and the Spiritual, where Elkins was the keynote speaker. Several Christian scholars and artists gave papers critical of Elkins' work. I invited him to respond to four abbreviated criticisms. He accepted, saying he "was looking forward to the criticism." (Unless otherwise noted, all quotes are from On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art.)
Wanted: Intellectual Hospitality
James Elkins has a refreshingly irreverent take on the current art scene, and he's pulled back the veil a bit on the last taboo: religion in contemporary art. The answer he offers to the implicit question posed by the title of his book—what is the "strange place" of religion in avant-garde art?—is straightforward: there's no place for it. He sees this as the inevitable outcome of the progressive "purification" of art from all systems of meaning exterior to it, all metanarratives; a kind of art qua art emerging over the past century or so. Of course this view presupposes avant-gardism as the definitive artistic voice of our time (ironically its own meta-narrative). Traditional art forms are retrograde because they employ outmoded aesthetic strategies and theoretical assumptions. Essentially traditional art and traditional religion are passè. In a word, they're too conservative.
Yet to be traditional is not necessarily to be conservative.In The Relevance of the Beautiful, H. G. Gadamer says tradition is not so much a matter of conservation as transmission; that every act of transmission necessarily involves a corresponding act of translation. By its refusal to "translate" itself into meaningful terms for a current generation of participants, a tradition dies. (Perhaps that's why religious art is on the outs?) On the other hand, whether or not we realize or acknowledge our debt to a particular tradition does nothing to affect the reality of our participation in it or dependence upon it. (Sometimes unconscious dependence can take the form of parasitism— the postmodern phenomenon of historical appropriation.) Failure to realize our debt to tradition can result in imagined originality and susceptibility to a special kind of hubris—the arrogance of the ignorant. For all its confidence, avant-gardism may suffer a kind of cultural amnesia or myopia.
I think Elkins knows all this. Nevertheless, his assertion that religious art cannot, by definition, be contemporary art involves a sort of unconscious chauvinism, a kind of parochial affiliation with one fairly small "world of art." If Gadamer is right, the real and broader question is not whether religious art has relevance to the current New York or L.A. art scene, but whether or not these art worlds have any place in the bigger picture of tradition. As T. S. Eliot once pointed out, tradition is inclusive of the authentically new, and the genuinely new work of art re-contextualizes the whole previous canon, extending and elaborating the tradition. But art that is narrowly self-referential is doomed to the historical dustbin. Either connect to the larger world of meaning or else find your place at the margins of civilization. And in the estimate of many, the current art world is decidedly marginal and inbred.
Elkins is also at pains to explain why the art world avoids traditional religion despite its fascination with "spiritual" themes. I think his explanation is clear enough: orthodoxy of any sort will always be resisted among the avant-garde. But the underlying issue here, it seems to me, centers on that little word, the, as in "the art world." In reality there are always many concurrent worlds of art which have sometimes conflicting narratives, aesthetics, and cultural values. The various systems of visual meaning-making may actually share common ground, yet they retain distinctive orientations to their respective audiences and have enshrined very different aesthetic and spiritual values. These groups share among themselves common convictions about criteria, aesthetic strategies, canons of taste, a credible narrative of recent art history, and a pantheon of "great artists." Whose world of art will prevail in the history books? Wait a while. At the moment, modernism appears vulnerable, and so-called postmodernism is experiencing its own health problems.
Perhaps a little humility is in order— and a bit of intellectual hospitality to those outside one's cultural tribe might allow in a little fresh blood.
Bruce Herman is Lothlórien Distinguished Chair of Art at Gordon College. His primary focus as a teacher and artist is figurative painting. He received the Junior Distinguished Faculty Award in 1992 and was awarded the first fully-endowed Distinguished Chair at Gordon in 2006. His art has been exhibited internationally and is housed in museums such as the Vatican Museum in Rome, the Armand Hammer Collection in Los Angeles, and locally at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Mass.
In the reemergence of Christianity's presence in art, 2007 was a remarkable year. In its year-in-review, Artforum, a preeminent contemporary art magazine that has been inhospitable to issues of religion, named Gerhard Richter's stained glass window for Cologne Cathedral 2007's "best" work. Yet this belated recognition of contemporary religious art's maturation was accompanied by commentary from Benjamin Buchloh, a friend of Richter's who has written extensively on his art, that failed to elucidate this work's religious context and content. Defensive and annoyed that a brilliant artist should seek this philistine commission, Buchloh asked,
does the fact that the work was "blessed" during the initial ceremony, in a primitive ritual with clouds of frankincense billowing through the church's nave … have an effect on the meaning of the work? Was the hitherto diffuse colored light's physical materialization in the wafting clouds of smoke and attendant transformation in chromatic beams traversing the nave … part of the work or only incidental to it? Or should we simply extract Richter's window … from its architectural setting and consider it "a work of art in its own right," as the assembled community of nonbelievers and art worshipers would undoubtedly have insisted?
Buchloh's questions, more clouded by prejudice than incense, explicate the crux of contemporary religious art's plight. Examining this quandary, James Elkins' On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art poses good questions and demonstrates a commendable curiosity; however, it also perpetuates Buchloh-like presuppositions. Elkins asserts that "sincere religious art … has no place in the art world," preemptively curtailing robust and expanding discussion. If you don't like, tough: "that's how it is, don't shoot the messenger." However, as harbingers, critics set the tone and terms by which criteria are developed. If those criteria fail, repeatedly, to address the art, critics might consider discarding the criteria, not the art.
Far from an anomaly, Richter's Cologne window represents the tip of an iceberg resting mostly below Elkins' purview. Richter is designing windows for Reims Cathedral, Sigmar Polke is designing windows for Zurich's Grosmünster Cathedral, Markus Lüpertz designed windows for Cologne's Sankt Andreas, and Neo Rauch created windows and a triptych for Naumburg Cathedral. Will Anselm Kiefer, who purchased Cologne Cathedral's lead roof some years back for use in his art, become the last major German painter without an official church commission?
This swell of artists designing and, mostly, donating art for churches represents an inconvenient obstacle to Elkins' inherent-incompatibility-of-religion-andcontemporary- art position (one he attempts to evade in his presentations by focusing on the internet's endless supply of religious kitsch). In fact, Christianity has inspired many of the most celebrated contemporary artists. Without irony (Merriam- Webster and I dispute Elkins' use of "irony" and "self-reflectivity" as synonymous) or sacrilege, artists, attempting to critically examine the contemporary human experience, have found Christianity's themes, iconography, and forms apropos. That these artists, many of whom make no personal profession of faith, are, nevertheless, drawn to Christianity in their art, should arouse greater scholarly curiosity.
Elkins dismisses contemporary religious art as constitutionally uncritical, but he is uncritical of his own methodology, simply asserting, "the excision of piety and faith from art has deep roots … [in] the very ideas of modernism and post-modernism." Without confronting its failure to contend with contemporary religious art's diversity and complexity, Elkins' methodology builds more walls than bridges between this art and its critics.
A disconnect has developed between artists, who often frame even non-overtly religious work in spiritual terms, and critics who distort these works by what they write and leave unwritten. If, as Buchloh confesses, "the task of separating the Catholic Church (and its ever more horrifying German Pope) as the patron of Richter's new magnum opus from the work itself … confronts us with admittedly considerable, if not insurmountable, difficulties," Elkins offers few solutions.
James Romaine is a New York–based art historian. He is the co-founder the New York Center for Arts and Media Studies, a program of Bethel University (NYCAMS.Bethel.edu). He has a PhD in art history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (dissertation: "Constructing a Beloved Community: The Methodological Development of Tim Rollins and K.O.S."). He is a frequent lecturer on faith and the visual arts, and his articles have appeared in the Art Journal of the College Art Association, American Arts Quarterly, Christian History & Biography, Re:Generation Quarterly, The Princeton Theological Review, and Image.
Although James Elkins admits that "once upon a time—but really, in every place and in every time—art was religious," he thinks we're past that. Today, the only kind of religious art that can be accepted in the art world is marked by "irony, ambiguity, and uncertainty." Given that, I wish to pose two questions. First, why must religious art be ironic and uncertain in order to be accepted as "genuine" art? Second, what would it take for that requirement to change?
The only possible answer to the first question is sheer dogmatism. The insistence on these characteristics is a result of (as Elkins rightly puts it) "the faith of the art world." The real reason that art is separated from religion is that the art world is all too like religion, in the sense of holding basic beliefs (basically, the art world's own kind of piety) that it sees no need to justify and that, outside the art world, can seem just as arbitrary and capricious as anything held by religious believers. Here we must turn to Immanuel Kant, who was probably the most important force in disconnecting art from reason, meaning that—after Kant—aesthetic ideas could be "artistic" but not cognitive. This is why one of the assumptions of the art world regarding religion seems so bizarre. Put succinctly by the brochure for the SVA conference: "Can religion enter the dialogue of art history, cultural critique, scientific discovery and globalization when these concepts have been defined by the rational and objective, or are religious ideas subjective, lacking intellectual merit and rigor?" To which I would respond: Since when has "art" been "rational and objective"? Who really thinks that—except perhaps some people in the art world who obviously need to get out a bit more? In essence, the problem here is not that religion and art are so different, but that they are so alike. Each has its own respective "faith."
Then what it would take for the art world to change? Let me give an example from my own discipline. Not so long ago, the presence of sincere religious folk in professional philosophical circles was virtually unthinkable. Partly, this was because philosophy in this country was largely dominated by logical positivism— a view that held that aesthetic, ethical, and religious claims did not even qualify as "propositions." Eventually, logical positivism met its demise because people finally realized that its basic tenet—accept only that which is analytically true or empirically justifiable—was itself neither analytically true nor empirically justifiable. In other words, that very tenet was simply unjustified. But then a strange thing happened. Religious—particularly Christian—philosophers started to argue that, given that all philosophical systems have their respective posits that they accept by something like "faith," then Christian philosophy was in no way inferior to any other kind of philosophy. The result is that, in the past two decades, the American Philosophical Association (my profession's highest guild) has witnessed a huge influx of explicitly Christian philosophers.
If postmodernity has shown us anything, it is that there is always something like "faith" at the heart of what we call "reason." Jacques Derrida has made that claim as forcefully as any. But what does this mean for the "faith" of the art world? It seems rather strange that the art world would be so certain about its commitment to uncertainty. Perhaps, just like logical positivism, art needs to see whether its requirement can truly pass its own test. Of course, those who profess religious belief should also be capable of admitting that their beliefs are not without at least some degree of ambiguity, uncertainty, and paradox. The Christian artists I know hardly think that because one believes, all uncertainties or ambiguities simply disappear into thin air.
So I close with a question: if the world of philosophy can make such a dramatic change to allow a place for serious religious thinkers, might not the art world be able to do the same for serious religious artists?
Bruce Ellis Benson is professor and chair of the Philosophy Department at Wheaton College. His most recent book is Pious Nietzsche: Decadence and Dionysian Faith (Indiana Univ. Press). He is writing a book on art for the Church and Postmodern Culture series with Baker Academic.
Estranged or Divorced?
We "religious" should be grateful to James Elkins. His book clearly states what artists who are Christians may have learned by experience, but never heard honestly acknowledged. The "place" of religious art turns out to be off any map whose coordinates come from within the art world he describes. There certainly are biases and antagonisms against sincere, religiously charged art. The question is whether those are in the DNA of contemporary art, thus guaranteeing the exclusion of religion. Interestingly, by Elkins' account contemporary art—usually associated with change—seems to have some fixity. He concludes On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art by saying, "It is impossible to talk sensibly about religion and at the same time address art in an informed and intelligent manner: but it is also irresponsible not to keep trying." I appreciate the willingness to keep trying, but I wonder how he knows it's impossible. Are the ends of contemporary art determined?
Unsurprisingly, Elkins' art world sounds like the world he is in—academia. Critics of that world have sometimes referred to its art as academic modernism, signaling dependence on the historicalcritical discourses found in academia, and playfully recalling an old modernist sneer against art academies, which were thought to smother talent, limit knowledge, and inhibit feeling. It is a bit ironic that the mantle of modernism is worn by people who appear so determined to limit, proscribe, and protect—at least when it comes to religion.
In what I have read or examined by Elkins I have found a fondness for looking at all kinds of things. He seems to love to compare competing theories, and he clearly knows both the power and limitations of texts in relation to art objects. He seems to appreciate how hard it is to know, and how little we can know with certainty. If my impression is correct, his conviction about the future of sensible and intelligent talk concerning religion and art seems a bit odd. I suspect the conviction comes more from contemporary discourses about art than it does from art itself.
When Elkins criticizes art that is religious, it is often because it's "conservative." There is a great deal of mediocre religious art, but I don't think conservatism is the basic problem. "Conservative" invokes the ghosts of avant-garde myths about progress, which raises the question: Progress toward what? The interpretative community Elkins references values progression away from religion. It is certainly possible to read the history of modern art that way. But is it necessary? I believe there is enough evidence of religious modern art for an alternate reading. In order to see that though, one would have to use other criteria. One value important to many religions (and religious people) is continuity. If continuity is considered as well as change, a somewhat different story of modern art emerges. In that story some contemporary art looks pretty small.
I'll end by posing two questions which might help push the discussion forward. What change would allow religion into the contemporary art world Elkins describes? If the answer to the question is "no change is possible," what power or authority keeps that world fixed on this one point? Thank you James Elkins for stimulating this exchange.
Theodore Prescott is Distinguished Professor of Art at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. He received his MFA in sculpture from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art, where he studied with Norman Carlberg and Salvatore Scarpitta. He has exhibited widely in the United States, and is in both public and private collections. He writes about art regularly, and has published in The New Criterion, The Cresset, Image, and American Arts Quarterly.
James Elkins responds
I've been gratified and intrigued by the amount of discussion my book has provoked. I regularly receive invitations from Christian institutions to talk about the issues in the book. (I have particular enjoyed visiting Lipscomb University and Westmont College.) So far all the discussions have been very candid. I'm tempted to say that communities of "religionists" are at times more open-minded than communities of scholars who study other aspects of art. (I was amused by the way religion hovered over my only secular invitation, from MIT, and I was glad to hear from Bruce Benson that the American Philosophical Association has started considering religious themes.) I'm hoping that the book I'm co-editing with David Morgan,Re-Enchantment, will help document some of that open-mindedness.
Ted Prescott wants to know if my claim, that religious art is proscribed by the art world, isn't suspiciously static. I think the book's nearly prescriptive tone comes from my own sense of how ingrained, how obdurate, the discourses of modernism and postmodernism have become. It isn't that things cannot change, or that they will not change; it's that change in the discourses that explain modernism and postmodernism happen less easily than changes in the flighty pluralism of the art market. "What change," Ted asks, "would allow religion into the contemporary art world Elkins describes?" I can imagine several kinds of change that would do the trick; they would each involve changes in the sum total of people who give us our best accounts of art.
I love this, from James Romaine's response: "Richter is designing windows for Reims Cathedral, Sigmar Polke is designing windows for Zurich's Grosmünster Cathedral, Markus Lü pertz designed windows for Cologne's Sankt Andreas, and Neo Rauch created windows and a triptych for Naumburg Cathedral." But are those things "the tip of an iceberg"? I don't think so, because mainly secular artists, whose work gains meaning within the modernist tradition, have traditionally accepted religious commissions. Buchloh is impossible, as always, on the rigorous irrelevance of the cathedral setting, but he is only saying in an irresponsibly angry fashion what the modernist tradition has demonstrated since Jacques-Louis David: secular modernists participate in religious art by convention. It is part of secular modernism, not the tip of a religious iceberg. (How, for example, would you read Neo Rauch's other work— that is, the overwhelming majority of it—as religious?)
On the other hand, Romaine is absolutely right to take me to task for "evading" the prevalence of serious Christian and other religious art in my presentations "by focusing on the internet's endless supply of religious kitsch."That is where the serious work needs to be done, I agree, and that is where the iceberg really lies. Not under Richter and Rauch, in the enormous world of church art and church commissions worldwide. (The "iceberg" of religious meaning under Richter is about a half-inch thick.) And James, you're so right to criticize me for being evasive. I do have a reason, and that is just that I've found it is best to begin with easily argued examples. But that reason is no excuse, and I am learning more about serious contemporary religious art every day.
May I try to extricate myself from the charge of being intransigent, prescriptive, or dogmatic? James Romaine notes my "Buchloh-like presuppositions." I would like to draw a distinction between Buchlohpropositions and Buchloh-like propositions. For Buchloh, religion is "primitive" and blessing is "blessing" (in quotation marks in his text in Artforum). His position really is immobile. When I say things like "sincere religious art … has no place in the art world," I am reporting on a current state of affairs, not voicing a conviction. Hence a Buchloh-like conviction isn't really a conviction at all, if a conviction is something held by the person who articulates it. A Buchloh-like conviction, if that is what I have, is an idea that appears as a conviction because it is so deeply ingrained, so pervasive, so endemic, that it is hardly possible to imagine what art discourse would be like if it could somehow be resected. So I'd like to say that I don't have a "position," as in "Elkins' inherent-incompatibility-of-religion-andcontemporary-art position": I have an observation about other people's positions, their convictions.
And here we come to what I think of as the heart of the matter. Ted writes, "Unsurprisingly, Elkins' art world sounds like the world he is in—academia." Let me posit, for the sake of conversation, that "academia" here includes everyone who writes about contemporary art, whether they are in small college art departments, small-town art schools, or big art history departments in Ivy League universities. Given that definition, I would say that no one outside academia has produced any persuasive accounts of what contemporary art means. It can be difficult to find a workable definition of "academic" or "academia" in this context; if I am not careful, it can sound as if I am silently promoting the widening circle of theorists who are influenced by October. But I am actually making a different sort of claim: I would like to know where, outside "academia," it is possible to find powerful, well-articulated, convincing accounts of contemporary art. Interesting writing, from Thomas McEvilley to Joseph Masheck, from Dave Hickey to Arthur Danto, from James Panero to Peter Schjeldahl, depends on the central accounts of modernism and postmodernism that were developed by people like Greenberg, Rosenberg, Fried, Krauss, Foster, Buchloh, Hoffman, Bü rger, and others. And that is especially true when writers such as Schjeldahl and Hickey vehemently and honestly deny they are influenced by those writers. What Bruce Herman sees as a "parochial affiliation with one fairly small 'world of art'" I would see as a parochial affiliation with the fairly small world of art that has produced the single viable account of what art in the last hundred and fifty years has been about. It is an account on which everyone else depends.
This is also the place where David Morgan (not represented in this exchange) and I might disagree: there are separate-but-equal kinds of art, but there are not really separate-but-equal kinds of writing on art. So I only half agree with Bruce Herman when he mentions the "many concurrent worlds of art." Worlds of art, yes; worlds of art writing, no. I feel like Adorno when I argue this way, because it sounds like his élitism about the avant-garde, but I think it is demonstrably true. If you think you're writing freely on art, and that you're beholden to no one in particular, you are virtually certainly beholden to Greenberg, Adorno, Krauss, and not too many others. Incidentally: this observation applies equally to academic art historians and theorists in major universities, who often deny they are followers of October. But in North America and Anglophone countries in Western Europe, virtually all major, active art historians are deeply indebted to October.
Having said that, I completely agree with Bruce Herman that the really overarching question concerns tradition, and whether religiously inclined art worlds "have any place in the bigger picture of tradition." Definitely, they do, and I hope that my book can draw some art historians' attention to the fact that there is an ocean of religious art out there, lapping at the shores of their secular archipelago. Herman observes that "the genuinely new work of art re-contextualizes the whole previous canon, extending and elaborating the tradition." Absolutely, and Gadamer is a good guide to a more capacious sense of tradition and novelty. What appears as genuinely new to the art world is a train hanging from a crane (Jeff Koons' current project), or a crack in the gallery floor (Doris Salcedo's current project). What really is genuinely new is an ordinary church commission, in a small town church, utterly ignored and overlooked by the art world. Or—to take another of my interests—an ordinary painting made for an ordinary tourist gallery in the Côte d'Azur. What is really new is by definition invisible. I plan to harp on that point when I figure out how to write a book on ordinary, invisible painting from 1900 to 2000, a project I've been working on for a decade or more.
And one final point: this isn't an artworld conspiracy, as some—not my correspondents here—have suggested. It's not a cabal that keeps religion out of the art world, because the sum total of writing on art is so various. And it's not an intentional decision, any more than it's intentional bias when a well-meaning reporter on MSNBC gives a pro-Israel report on the nightly news. It's ingrained, and it's part of the discourse of modernism and postmodernism. That's why it's right, but also not quite right, to call it a "dogma" as Bruce Benson does. (He says, wondering why the art world excludes religion, that the "only possible answer … is sheer dogmatism.") The art world's actions can seem like an attitude, like a dogma, but they aren't because there is no one, no group, that does any legislating. And that is why it is right, but perhaps not fruitful, to say as Benson does that art is also like a faith, and that religious people also care about ambiguities and uncertainty. In order for there to be people who could be persuaded by those observations, there would have to be historians, gallerists, aestheticians, or critics who both identify themselves as gatekeepers and define the rules of inclusion in such a way that they hinge on such things as irony or uncertainty. What is actually happening is more elusive. The exclusion is an effect of discourse, and it is not articulated as a theory which might depend on specific claims (such as: Art is not a faith). And so, with a few marginal exceptions, the exclusion I have tried to document is not owned, or owned up to, by anyone. That is why it is so difficult to imagine how this state of affairs can be changed, even though it is inevitable that it will, eventually, be changed.
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