PRINT April 1983



IT IS DIFFICULT TO RESIST the temptation to use the term “neo-eclecticism” when defining the present state of the arts. Except in the most fleeting and temporary instances there seems to have been a breakdown of unifying principles, and the notion of historical process itself seems to have lost its precise direction. The term neo-eclecticism broadly covers such a situation of disorientation and indeterminacy, manifested by the tumultuous return of styles from the past—not one by one, but all at once. The use of these styles lacks historical necessity—they are for the taking or leaving—and does not constitute a coherent formal unity. This breakdown of poetical and critical certainties can be seen not only in terms of style and the exhaustion of the concept of the avant-garde—as a unique and categorical indication of a collective quest ahead of its time—but also in terms

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