PRINT December 1984


London in the Thirties, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion, and Untitled '84

CASUAL, FAST, AND LOOSE. A picture book of snapshots of artists, dealers, and critics, some of which end up being unusually revealing. Flip through the pages and have fun figuring out the criteria used for inclusion and for the layout. The paper is cheap newsprint and the book is full of typographical errors, the best of which leads to an “errata”: “JUDY RIFKA is the woman with the mouse on her face and not JENNY HOLZER!”. This and the beefcake cover could make it a cult collectible.

Roland Hagenberg, Untitled ’84: The Artworld In The Eighties, introduction by Robert Pincus-Witten /9New York: Pelham Press), unpaginated, 176 black and white photographs.


THE INVESTIGATION CENTERS ABOUT the attention given to Christ’s genitalia in Renaissance art, and the subsequent repression of the subject. Leo Steinberg’s writing is an almost mathematical achievement. Plenty of illustrations (of paintings, engravings, and sculpture) provide evidence of his conclusions. Steinberg argues the sexual symbolism as essential to the “humanation” of Christ. He takes us through examples of seeming masturbation to cases of unmistakable erection in the Man of Sorrows. The latter he discusses as symbolic of postmortem revival, an erection-resurrection equation. The genuineness of the Incarnation is put to proof in the sexual member, the Circumcision shedding the first blood.

Originally published as a single issue of the magazine October, this is a fascinating and brilliant study with a wealth of scholarly detail. And it’s not that difficult reading.

Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality Of Christ In Renaissance Art And In Modern Oblivion (New York: Pantheon/October), 222 pp., 246 black and white illustrations.


IT WAS THE BEST of times, it was the worst of times. It was a human time. Without recourse to sentimentality, Bill Brandt’s keen lens and flash has captured the London of this period-in-suspension with all its nuances and subtleties. The picture book is divided into three “stories”; in turn these relate the lives of the poor, the middle class, and the rich. More than mere social documentation, the photographs open up an era and show it as moving, exuberant, severe, and fiercely grained with reality.

Bill Brandt, London in the Thirties, introduction by Mark Haworth-Booth (New York: Pantheon Books), 96 pp., 96 black and white photographs.


Nicholas A. Moufarrege is an artist who lives in New York.