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PRINT February 1989

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ABSTRACTION REDEEMS OBVIATED forms. So the new kinds of painting that emerged at the end of the 19th century were devoted to proving wrong Paul Delaroche’s famous assertion upon seeing a daguerreotype that “From this day on, painting is dead.” More utilitarian forms than representational figuration passed unmourned with the era of the Industrial Revolution. The carriage gave way to the automobile, the wood-burning stove to the oven, the quill to the ballpoint, with, Luddites notwithstanding, only gestural nostalgia or inexpedient sentimentality. But our post-Modern era mourns its own passing as vividly as it mourns the passing of what has come before, and clings to pure forms all the more strongly as those forms incline toward obsolescence. Abstracting them is, perhaps, the only way to validate them; forms that have followed function, when their function deserts them, must be given status

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