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PRINT February 1985

JONATHAN BOROFSKY: WHAT KIND OF FOOL IS THIS?

ONLY AN EAGER GRAVEDIGGER WOULD ARGUE that “Jonathan Borofsky,” the “retrospective” that began at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and is now at the Whitney Museum of American Art,1 is Borofsky’s final or only word. His is among the most open-ended, responsive, and responded to of art, and if anything gets more so as time goes on. The fact is, however, that Borofsky’s work has repeatedly expressed reservations about its own efficacy. “Self-deprecating” is an adjective rarely used in discussions of his work. Instead, the work’s effusiveness and diffusiveness can stir murmurings about “unstable ego boundaries” and “oceanic feelings.” But despite the ubiquitous self-portraits throughout the installation, depicting Borofsky on top of the world or as a cranium bulging with cosmic awareness, it’s more to the point to describe this as a humble persona.

Of course the work’s casualness is itself a

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