PRINT October 2010


Laurie Simmons, Woman/Kitchen/Sitting on Sink, 1976, black-and-white photograph, 5 1/4 x 8".

WHAT’S IN A GENERATION? From Pepsi to yuppies, the notion of a generational style or sensibility is often dismissed as a mere marketing tool, a way of breaking up the population into discrete consumer subgroups (that crucial “men 18–34” demographic, for instance). Nevertheless, these types of categories have a strong hold on us: on our cultural experience, our sense of history, our thinking about art. I’ve dealt with plenty of generations in my own art-historical work—the ’60s generation and the Pictures generation, mainly—yet I don’t feel I belong to any clearly legible one. I guess I’m part of what has been called Generation X (I was born in 1968), but even that name seems categorically unspecific, the X denoting some kind of phantom zone between the history-making baby boomers and the so-called Millennials, those paradigm-shifting “digital natives” who came of age

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