PRINT March 2003

The Diarist: Robert Pincus-Witten

NOVEMBER 12, 1980: “THE EVENING ESSENTIALLY A HAPPY but disquieting one: it definitely marks the death of the ’60s,” proclaims Robert Pincus-Witten’s diary (as published in Arts) on the occasion of Metro Pictures’s opening party. “Henceforth, we of the ’68–’72 set, no matter our good will, are of another, older generation. In the juke box light of the dance floor . . . I could feel my laughing crow’s feet deepen into wrinkles. This is no plus ça change moment but a different era.” For a critic who had played a central role in defining the previous epoch, this clearly wasn’t just another night on the town. Still, after fifteen years on the frontlines of new art––an interval that could spawn almost as many generations of artists as fruit flies––Pincus-Witten wasn’t about to desert the new recruits. Instead, he plunged afresh into young artists’ studios and gallery openings, chronicling the

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