PRINT December 2005

David Rimanelli

I KNOW SOMETHING MUST HAVE HAPPENED this year besides Paris Hilton. I was recently in a video store scanning the new-releases board. A video clerk had penned an amusing one-line summation of House of Wax: “Paris Hilton dies in this remake of the horror classic.” Diderot, too, had a flair for deflating concision, describing in his Salon of 1767 Jean-Baptiste Leprince’s Portrait of a Young Girl Abandoning her Toys in Favor of Study as a “mediocre picture, but an excellent lesson for a child.” Too bad contemporary critical etiquette prohibits such terse judgments; but why, I wonder, should oneliner artworks deserve any more than one-liner reviews? Diderot was notoriously fond of lessons, though, praising the sentimental moralizing canvases of Greuze and damning the Rococo froufrou of Boucher and Fragonard. Néanmoins, Diderot is Diderot, and I’m merely me, but I’ll risk the ridicule of my

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