PRINT January 1994


Thomas Bernhard

WE ALL WANT TO BE good consumers. We don’t want to reproduce negativity. So whenever I hear Cindy Crawford aver, “It’s really inner beauty that counts,” my inability to take things at face value makes me feel unclean. According to Gilles Deleuze, “The world is the set of symptoms of which the illness coincides with man.”

A recent art piece in Vogue juxtaposed two “artful gatherings”: a late 19th-century parlor painted by Alfred Stevens, garnished with lady artist and models, and a mod 1965 postcard of a fancy French restaurant in Chicago with mannequin like patrons, all of whom looked upscale yet very normal. Both images offered the voyeur attractive poses to identify with—one the pale romantic, two the sporty WASP. It has been customary since the 19th century for image-makers to reflect back their bourgeois or bohemian audiences from the place from which they appear likable to themselves;

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