new-york

Tony Berlant

Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney showed four of Tony Berlant’s architectural sculptures under the title “The Marriage of New York and Athens.” Each involved the toylike simplification of the concept of a Greek temple. In each case, the temple is faced differently, in each it is a different size, and each deals in a different way with the cagelike interior space. The basic form is actually only minimally like that of a classical temple, identifiable by its pedimental ends and its evenly spaced peripheral supports. So there seems even at the start to be a playful (and perhaps mock-functionalist) paring down of the structure to its most elemental components, down to a kind of prefab, yard-sized Parthenon, sold in a discount house. There are no classical orders—in fact there are plain piers, square in plan. Each “temple” has four piers showing on each side—a total of 12—an unclassical arrangement, but apparently

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