PRINT September 1991

Editor’s Letter

Editor’s Letter

Is there a life after post-Modernism? We sense that a new discourse is in the making. But responding to the vast body of information and ideas now emerging about non-European-derived cultures, and about subjects that until recently had little or no access to the so-called mainstream of art, is a difficult task. It demands that we question not only the dichotomies of center and periphery, colonizer and colonized, but finally identity itself.

In this issue Robert Farris Thompson, in his analysis of the current exhibition “Africa Explores,” reclaims the black and Latino influences in Modernism, and discusses the 20th-century art of Africa. And Luke Gibbons presents the symptomatic case of Ireland, a nation at the margins of Europe, on the occasion of the opening of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Massimo Carboni argues that in both European and non-Western cultures, ornament and decoration have historically borne deeper meanings than those assigned to them in the post-Modernist agenda. The issue of decoration appears again in Bruce Ferguson’s article on Christopher Wool, and in the fabric patterns, all intended for clothing prints, chosen for Artforum by Joost Elffers and Susan Meller from their forthcoming book on textile design. Deborah Drier’s article on Rosemarie Trockel shows how clothing is interwoven with problems of identity and gender, while for Carter Ratcliff, the relationship between fashion photography and art demonstrates how ideology—or the lack of it—assigns different meanings to apparently similar formal elements.

The artist William Anastasi proposes a peculiar case of identification in early Modernism in his reading of the influence of Alfred Jarry on Marcel Duchamp, the father of all appropriations. And while Howard Hampton excavates the ruins of Twin Peaks, Lane Relyea levitates to the ceiling, ascending in the footsteps of Matthew Barney. . . .

Ida Panicelli