PRINT Summer 1987


A Roman correspondent observes a New York institution.

IF A COMPARISON OF TWO artworks in the 1985 and the 1987 biennials of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, can evoke the difference in mood between the two shows, the best examples for the purpose are Kenny Scharfs vividly colored invasion of the bathrooms and telephone booths in the earlier exhibition and lzhar Patkin’s doleful room in the current one. Patkin’s allegory is painted on sheets of rubber hung like curtains to cover the four walls of a room; it has a sense of didactic heaviness, notwithstanding the rippling movement suggested by its drapes and folds. Where the earlier show had an atmosphere of disco-tech late-night free association (of colors, objects, media, sounds) that one could associate with the East Village scene of that time, this year’s exhibition has a distinct air of “seriousness.” In fact this year’s exhibition should be taken more seriously, because as a

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