New York

Anne and Patrick Poirier

Sonnabend Gallery downtown

The givens of the exhibition—an imaginative reconstitution of the Necropolis on the Isola Sacra near Ostia Antika—point up the ambiguities currently accruing to an art almost exclusively centered on manual finesse and archeological Proustianism. Anne and Patrick Poirier, through varied techniques ranging from calligraphy to relief-making, delineate an explicitly Western and self-consciously cultured orientation of their ensemble. It is not for nothing that the artists were pensionaries at the Villa Medicis for three years as Prix de Rome recipients. Instead of emphasizing the ironies implicit in this cultural disfiguration vis-à-vis the modernist rejection of culture, they persist in stressing the beauty of the later Roman style, as if its beauty were something to be taken for granted rather than questioned. Instead of placing irony over method, the Poiriers wax nostalgic. Their sense of

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