Patricia Cronin

Wooster Gardens

Beyond an artist’s intention, so much goes into any artwork that’s part of the time’s texture of attitudes, understanding, and knowledge, whether specialized or everyday, that it’s amazing posterity has any way in at all. They’re pointing at the baby Christ’s penis because—Who’d be an art historian? And should art history still exist as a discipline in a few hundred years, what will it make of Patricia Cronin’s horses?

Paintings quite like Cronin’s portraits of ponies named Peppermint, Parfait Prince, Palatial Summer, and so forth, could well be made by a young apprentice using a paint-by-numbers kit, or might be worked up by the score for sale in sidewalk art shows. Yet being alive in New York today (and having stumbled on one of the artist’s gallery lectures), I would doubt that these pictures could exist without the last two or three decades’ worth of feminist politics and theories of

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