New York

Anne and Patrick Poirier

Sonnabend Gallery

“It is wrong to believe that these myths and ancient geneses do not concern us anymore. The human soul is made of memory and forgetfulness; these constitute being.” So Anne and Patrick Poirier once wrote, referring to the classical culture of the Mediterranean. The art that the Poiriers built on this faith in the ’70s and ’80s—microcosmic reconstructions of ancient ruined architecture, arrangements of outsize fragments of Greco-Roman sculpture, and related works—was among that period’s many signs of an esthetic shift: after the sublimities and stringencies of formalism, Conceptual art, and Minimalism, a return of history, allegory, anecdote, and the depiction of things seen and imagined. And though I suspect the Poiriers’ rehabilitation of classicism always made best sense on their French home turf, their pursuit of a vanished past, as a way of vitalizing the life of the present, had an

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