The history of the New York art world in the 1970s is assumed to be clear but is actually not well understood. So many subsequent developments had roots, precursors, or strange John the Baptist–like harbingers that seemed to dissolve and fade but in fact opened the way for much more widely noted phenomena. The centrality and longevity of the key artists classified as post-Minimalist are not questioned, but major figures of so-called Photorealism, Pattern and Decoration, New Image, and Bad Painting have not been coherently slotted into the narrative of the recent past. The explosion of the art world during the ’80s, combined with the field-leveling theoretical constructs of postmodernism and its offspring, destroyed the notion of one dominant artistic story (not an entirely bad thing) but haven’t left us any better equipped to reevaluate the positions of more eccentric, less easily

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