Maria Porges

  • Mildred Howard

    As immune as we have become to the media’s grim recitation of violent events, the death of children still shocks and saddens most of us. Although almost fifteen years have passed since the summer day in 1976 when South African soldiers gunned down black children in Soweto, the memory of that event still has the power to move us—particularly as it has been invoked in Mildred Howard’s installation Ten Little Children Standing in a Line (one got shot, and then there were nine), 1991. Simultaneously a memorial and a plea for the end of racial violence, Howard’s piece is centered around a powerful

  • Sherrie Levine

    In After Man Ray (La Fortune), 1990, Sherrie Levine’s ambitious, elegantly ironic appropriation of Ray’s classically Surrealist painting from 1938, the 19th-century billiard table has been removed from the original dreamscape and carefully reproduced not once, but six times. Though in Man Ray’s painting, the table’s bottle-green surface is raked at an alarming angle, three balls rest on the field of felt in a neat triangular configuration. Levine’s massive mahogany tables are each crowned with an identical triangle of red and white balls. As if in a long camera pan, vast slabs of green and brown

  • Lutz Bacher

    Sex, a perennially popular subject, has achieved unusual prominence of late. In what is primarily a male, homosexual phenomenon, artists are examining gender roles, politics, and pleasure often in the shadow of the twin specters of AIDS and censorship. Lutz Bacher’s recent series, entitled “Men in Love,” consists of 12-inch squares of unframed mirror, fixed invisibly to the wall like a suite of gleaming Minimalist objects. A short text, varying in length from a sentence to a paragraph, is silk-screened dead center on each slick surface. The jittery, ever-so-slightly-off register reflection of

  • “Anxious Visions”

    One of the central ideas to emerge from the recent post-Modernist/post-Structuralist theoretical vogue is the notion that history can be understood as fiction—that “facts,” far from being immutable, are highly susceptible to all kinds of manipulation by the teller of the tale. Although history has always been subject to periodic reinterpretation, the recent preoccupation with hidden subtexts has instigated new readings of parts of the past about which we thought we knew the truth.

    “Anxious Visions: Surrealist Art” revises one of this century’s most important and influential artistic movements.


    What we are given . . . is abundant evidence of a masculine ideal that directs and reinforces behavior; one which, by posing as a norm, impels adaptation to a constructed situation. . . . Sexual difference should not be seen as a function of gender . . . but as a historical formation, continually produced, reproduced and rigidified in signifying practices.
    —Kate Linker, “Representation and Sexuality”

    CURRENT INTELLECTUAL FASHION dictates an automatic distrust of the historical record as it has been (falsely) constructed by dominant culture. Still, history, simply by repeating itself, can teach