New York

“Language”

Dwan Gallery

Rumor has it that the “Language” exhibition, held annually these past four years at the Dwan Gallery, will be discontinued. Since these exhibitions have been so difficult, crowded and divorced from familiar pictorial issues—belle facture, say, or sensuous impasto—and because of their historical sprawl, they have been overlooked, ignored even, by the critical reviews. Yet their relationship to the recent development of an art seemingly based on linguistic principles has been profound and abiding. I mentioned historical sprawl. From time to time Marinetti’s I Paroliberi Futuristi appeared as well as an awful lot of seemingly ancillary Duchamp, although as we all know, nothing is ancillary in Duchamp. Still the “historical” items displayed over four years avoided the clichés with which one has grown familiar in numerous exhibitions on an approximate theme of “words and art.” On the simplest

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