David Deitcher

  • the United Colors of Benetton

    MOST ADVERTISING THAT FIXES itself like barnacles to the outsides of buses is of the Jordache, Bud, or Virginia Slims variety. In the wake of the ruthlessly upscale “redevelopment” of New York’s housing stock, some ads now feature bodacious young women lying belly down before high rises reduced to the scale of gigantic vibrators. But lately something new has been added to such reinforcements of the national appetite for youth, luxury, and officially sanctioned vice. Buses now contain ads that double as political messages. The photographer Oliviero Toscani has produced the most extraordinary of

  • Ronald Jones

    In 1985 Ronald Jones organized an exhibition for the Nexus Contemporary Art Center in Atlanta, where he lived at the time. Entitled “Public Art: A Blunt Instrument,” the show introduced Southerners to contemporary art that responded to the knotty historical predicament outlined in Jean Baudrillard’s essays on the “simulacrum,” which Jones quoted on several occasions in his catalogue text. Baudrillard’s Simulations was first published in English two years earlier, and was therefore only beginning to acquire the rank of cult classic in an art world ravenous for a “paradigm shift” or, failing that,

  • 1989 Biennial

    Though I’m reluctant to join the mob of Whitney bashers, it’s been hard to remain judicious about this year’s Biennial. Like many others, I was puzzled by the organizers’ exclusion of art that resists a conventional—indeed, conservative—conception of contemporary visual culture. I was offended, for instance, that AIDS and the varied cultural responses to it were consigned to a single, metaphorical mention in the catalogue introduction: “ . . . the horrific toll of AIDS on the arts community is but a harbinger of potentially larger disasters, including the ozone deterioration that threatens the


    I WAS NEVER ESPECIALLY INTERESTED in David Wojnarowicz’s art. Part of the problem was that I associated it with the heyday of the East Village scene, and all that faux-naiveté and self-conscious expressionism, the presiding cult of the (youthful, male) individual, the hustling and the profiteering just left me cold. Under those conditions it would have been difficult to give his art a proper chance; instead I dismissed it as private fantasy—a category, of course, for things that couldn’t possibly matter.

    Back then what did matter was subjecting all kinds of cultural production to a litmus test