PRINT September 1982


THE ADJECTIVE “MODERN” AS it has been applied within culture over the last 100 years has always indicated a break from history rather than a continuation of it. But a pattern of breaks, when long enough sustained, itself becomes a “tradition.” As we begin the end of this century—the next fin de siècle—we are confronted with a situation so complex as to include not only artists whose work continues to invigorate this credo of invention but also Modern artists whose “break” or perhaps “invention” has to do with a disruption of what has become this tradition of invention in Modernism: they aggressively flaunt historicism as the subject matter of their work. So we have a conundrum that can only be solved by examining and questioning what is progressive and what is regressive.

Given the record of this century it is perhaps not surprising that in 1982 there should be such acutely felt tremors

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