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EDITOR’S LETTER

EDITOR’S LETTER

LESS THAN A WEEK BEFORE “PUTTING TO BED” THE SECOND half of Artforum’s two-volume look back on the ’80s, organized by my predecessor, Jack Bankowsky, I found myself seated across from sculptor Haim Steinbach at a Brooklyn kitchen table, a late winter light waning on the running tape recorder and half-finished plate of marzipan between us. Our interview had already lasted a couple of hours, and we had reached the kind of conversational pause that usually precedes a conclusion. But then Steinbach said something that caught me completely off-guard: “There seemed to be a reevaluation happening [in the ’80s]. But the discourse did not really challenge participants to try to figure out what was going on—actually, there was no discourse.”

Of course, Steinbach’s version may not ring true to many of the period’s active participants. Yet his implied desire (even hunger) for a venue to stimulate

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