PRINT February 1988

Roberta Smith


IS: This issue of returning to past ages, past styles, past works, past whatevers? Do you think so many artists’ return to past art is coming out of a critical consciousness, an I-don’t-know-what-to-do-next problem, or a loving attitude?

RS: It doesn’t really seem that different to me from any kind of subject matter or any way of being influenced or inspired by past art. It’s something very genuine and very inevitable for certain artists. In other cases, it expresses something more cynical, and in still other cases, it’s just artists getting on a bandwagon.

LS: Critics, like people in other fields, tend to absorb things from elsewhere and then somehow their work is influenced. In the ’60s, with the Vietnam War, you heard words like “strategy” in criticism—strategy this, strategy that. In the ’70s you have the jargonism. Today, are there any outside ideas or

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