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POPISMS

“Infotainment”

When Artforum called to propose looking back at “Infotainment,” a 1985 touring exhibition of young, media-smart East Village artists, I had just returned from London, where I saw Tate Britain’s “Art and the 60s: This Was Tomorrow.” As I thought back to New York in the mid-’80s, it struck me that there might be a parallel to draw between that strange time when artists seemed mesmerized by the power of mass media and the earlier moment in British Pop. Both “Infotainment” and “Art and the 60s” were about responses to American mass culture, and both groups of artists, though separated by twenty years, saw that culture as fascinatingly alien. The two groups seemed infected with a kind of nostalgia, a desire for an imagined moment more golden than the present. The fact that the British artists of the ’60s were looking forward while the Americans looked back only seemed to magnify the relationship,

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