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humanities 345 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Petit expound, however, results in statements that some readers will find contentious. For example, Petit rejects the >installation,= as an invalid form of >art,= He is similarly dismissive of social and political issues of marginalization (>artists of colour, women artists, AIDS=) and the artists that embrace them. Such perspectives beg for critical probing. In this and several other instances, the book fascinates almost as much for what it does not address as for what it does. Petit=s career as an artist B teaching, commissions, exhibitions, and collections B has been played out mainly in Japan (Quebec and Paris are satellite sites). In Canada he is perhaps best appreciated for his role as a cultural ambassador in Japanese/Canadian ventures in the visual arts. At one point in the interview, Ghan promises Petit that a discussion about the Canadian influences in his work will take place, but, alas, no such exchange materializes. Ghan does include a final section that comprises colour reproductions of a representative selection of Petit=s art (his oeuvre B prints, paintings, mixed media, sculpture, stained glass B is inspired by a wide range of cultural currents, among them Eastern, Western, modernist and traditional, embracing both abstract and figurative imagery). However, although discursive references are made in the interview to works reproduced in this pictorial essay, no figure numbers (or index) are provided to negotiate between text and image. There is also an unfortunate lack of sharpness to the reproductions; in too many cases the texture of the medium B a significant aspect of the artist=s approach to his material B has been neutralized. But the images are sufficient to pique one=s curiosity. For instance, how might Petit, with his incorporation into his work of cultural symbols of Japan (the kimono, for example), see himself in relation to the work of contemporary Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura, who plays with Western imagery? Suitable for a broad readership, The Kimono and the Cross nevertheless will be considered by art historians as a welcome complement to Guy Robert=s monograph (Petit: Gaston Petit en mission itinérante dans l=art, 1990), and as well to the essay by Paul-Henri Girard, OP (>Exposition de Gaston Petit, OP: L=œuvre au religieux,= www.spiritualite2000.com/Archives/Arts/2002/Petit/girard1.html). The book offers a window, at once fascinating and questioning, into a rich life and an exceptionally diverse oeuvre. (ARLENE GEHMACHER) JoAnn McCaig. Reading In: Alice Munro=s Archives Wilfrid Laurier University Press. xvi, 194. $24.95 Reading In is a highly self-conscious book, and not merely because it originated as a doctoral thesis. It scrupulously and metacritically monitors McCaig=s own construction and analysis of Alice Munro=s papers, 346 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 paralleling the work of Munro and her archivists in creating this legible fiction that is >Alice Munro.= As with any archive, its gaps and omissions raise lively questions, all of which McCaig asks, but the potential gossipy pseudo-biographical project is swept aside in favour of a much more rigorous socio-historical analysis of the many factors that combine to help situate (in fact, create) Alice Munro as a >Canadian= >Woman= >Short Story= >Writer.= But Reading In is also an interesting artifact in that Munro is the void at the book=s core. McCaig must also >read in= the missing author, since Munro withheld her permission to quote from the very archives that form the basis of analysis. While this would certainly have been the death of any other kind of reading, it is a coup de grace for this one; the book thereby performs its subject matter. As Munro is >an active but not sovereign protagonist= in the production of her >author function,= so her >sovereign= gesture of withholding permission simply removes any residual temptation McCaig might have had to retain her as coauthor, in a sense, of this project. (To say that there is ample Munro material available in published form for McCaig to quote from is to belie my argument that her project does not...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 345-347
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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