His encyclopedic range of cultural histories and their world views facilitated his ability to see beyond the shortsighted contemporary visions that divided up history into falsely successive, separate and insulated schools and modes of production and industry that we've come to, rather bureaucratically, call "premodern", "modern", and "postmodern".It was as if Mc Evilley possessed some reflex "sensor" of connections and discontinuities ranging across space and time that allowed him to see that the premodern, modern and postmodern not as separate entities or epochs, but together forming a living continuum in the present.
By the early 1990s, the most renowned and influential of Mc Evilley's essays were assimilated into two titles published by Mc Pherson & Company: , was published in 1994 by Cambridge University Press.
Taken together, the essays Mc Evilley produced throughout the 1980s and 1990s stood in stark contrast to the art writing found in the majority of art trade journals and exhibition catalogues then and now--much of which reads more like advertising copy than criticism.
Or in the hands of academics, criticism is too often approached as if it were supplying scientific treatises, rather than the subjective modeling of world possibilities criticism really is.
The essay was followed by 's publication of the letters of response from the museum's curators, William Rubin, who was also Mo MA's director of painting and sculpture, and his protégé and subsequent successor, Kirk Varnedoe, in the February and May, 1985, issues.
The challenge that Mc Evilley publicly posed to the museum, and in particular to Rubin, concerned what Mc Evilly found to be the largely eurocentric and colonialist, if not discreetly white supremacist, privileging of European art over the indigenously tribal arts represented in the exhibition--though represented not for their own merits, but as sources of the visual forms and motifs that informed key European Modernist painters and sculptors in what became known as the founding of Modern Art.