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PRINT April 1983

HOW WE LIVE: THE PAINTINGS OF ROBERT BIRMELIN, ERIC FISCHL, AND ED PASCHKE

Social conditions now approximate the vision of republican society conceived by the Marquis de Sade at the very outset of the republican epoch. In many ways the most farsighted and certainly the most disturbing of the prophets of revolutionary individualism, Sade defended unlimited self-indulgence as the logical culmination of the revolution in property relations—the only way to attain revolutionary brotherhood in its purest form. By regressing in his writing to the most primitive level of fantasy, Sade uncannily glimpsed the whole subsequent development of personal life under capitalism, ending not in revolutionary brotherhood but in a society of siblings that has outlived and repudiated its revolutionary origins.

—Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism, 1978

ROBERT BIRMELIN, ERIC FISCHL, and Ed Paschke appear to have little in common, aside from a commitment to the figure. Despite

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