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Robert Pincus-Witten on photography and criticism

WE ARTFORUM CRITICS of the Philip Leider generation are now in our seventies, pushing eighty; a retrospective contribution to a future sixtieth-anniversary issue amounts to actuarial improbability. Even those of us who quarreled and ultimately broke with that original milieu still think of Artforum as basic to the understanding of contemporary art, though perhaps with less conviction than before, granting the diminishment of criticism, caused, no doubt, by the rise of postmodern relativism and, moreover, of an omnipervasive digital media—in short, the whole decremental slide into a mediocre culture, for all its fascinations and excitements. That grumpy “to hell in a handbasket” assessment—always linked to the twin bugbears of technology and spectacle—strikes me as the big if dispiriting art news of the past half century. But can one really ever know? One person’s Mannerism

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