PRINT September 1993


WE ASKED 16 CRITICS to look back over the last 30 years and select a single work that rearranged the landmarks of their cultural geographies and claimed a permanent place in their personal canons. As one might expect, the resulting responses—idiosyncratic confessions, willful assertions, and artful refusals—tell a decidedly partial story of the art of the last three decades; indeed, it is entirely conceivable that another selection of works, different to the last piece, might have provided an equally telling document. Yet much of the texture of the discussion of recent visual culture does emerge from—and even more decisively between—these statements. The selection of works laid out in the following 32 pages should stand not as testament to the stability of any canon but to the variety of ways that art takes meaning for us. Their diversity, and the diversity of the writing they have inspired, offers a heartening prognosis for the state of the art of criticism.