new-york

Iris Rose, “House of Jahnke”

Pyramid Cocktail Lounge

Post-Modern seems to mean “neo”: neo-expressionism, neo-figurativism, neo-surrealism, and so on. One critic proposes that what is really going on is neo-classicism. I look at the proliferating revival of forms like the Ionic frieze and Roman sarcophagus in recent Soho shows, and the increasing allusions to the archaeological site by painters and sculptors alike, and perceive a neoantique strain to it all. Nowadays the question about an artist is: what does he or she quote from the past? Pueblan artifacts? Tantric icons? One’s bag from history is in a sense one’s signature, like the distinctive “touch” of old. Some fusions are so dead in terms of understanding the antique element quoted as to be a kind of rape of its corpse by a mindless future.

Iris Rose’s House of Jahnke is a happier case. In it the conventions of Greek tragedy are revived, altered, and used to present a historical event,

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