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Tauba Auerbach

Tauba Auerbach, The Whole Alphabet, from the Center Out, Digital, V, 2006, gouache on paper on panel, 30 x 22".

WHEN I WAS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL, each student in my class had to write on a yellow legal pad for a little while every day. I recall one of my entries announcing that I had decided to make a change in my handwriting: My lowercase a would from then on have a flat top. Implementing this change in the entry, I expected the entire page to take on a different look from the rest of my journal. But somehow, though I had reconfigured a symbol that appears more than 8 percent of the time in English, the whole thing still looked like something I would have written. I was disappointed.

Style is finer grained than choice. It is a complicated amalgam of microscopic tendencies. Choices yield categories in handwriting, like the bubbly teenage girl’s letters or the designer’s printed caps; but tiny weaknesses and strengths in each person’s hand inflect their script with uncalculated nuance. For the

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