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PRINT September 2000

CITY LIGHT: PAUL ETIENNE LINCOLN'S NEW YORK–NEW YORK

IN 1935, at the behest of his New York colleagues, Walter Benjamin set out to synopsize his famously unfinished epic, The Arcades Project. The resulting précis, “Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century,” offered a preview of the critic's Herculean attempt to compile all the various majorae and minutiae that gave rise to his own historical moment as revealed in that central symptom: Paris. I don't particularly like the idea that New York is the center of the universe; it bothers people who don't live here even more. But like Paris in the nineteenth century, New York is (was) the capital of the twentieth century with respect to certain ideas, objects, and symbols commonly synonymous with triumphant capitalism: not only skyscrapers and automobiles, televisions and telephones, but AbEx painting, Pop art, Minimalism, even postmodernism.

The British-born artist Paul Etienne Lincoln has been

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