TABLE OF CONTENTS

MODERN LIFE

the Manet tapes and more recent dupes.

MOVIE MARQUEES ONCE READ,Paul Newman Is Hud.” Today, the art marquee might as well read, ”Is Mike Bidlo Jackson Pollock?" Bidlo signals clearly enough that he’s nothing of the sort, but his Pollock impersonation is sharp enough to offer a warning—something’s up: some of us are still unable to abandon the faith that life travels in some chartable direction, so we try to run the historical tape in reverse.

Around 1979 the art world rewound its tape to bring us back to the figure, to narrative, to painting. Those were the early days of the “Italian Invasion,” the ”German Invasion’: the American response, and a pervasive confusion about the relations between past and present. How could the figure be recalled to painting when it had never gone away? What is it to remember, with ecstatic fanfare, a possibility that has never been forgotten?

Now the return-to-abstraction promoters are getting

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