new-york

Butt Johnson, Starchitects, 2009–10, ballpoint pen on Bristol, 40 x 30".

Butt Johnson

CRG Gallery

Butt Johnson, Starchitects, 2009–10, ballpoint pen on Bristol, 40 x 30".

In choosing The Name of the Rose as the title of his 1980 best-selling medieval thriller, Italian author and semiotician Umberto Eco confronted readers with an image charged with so many symbolic readings as to have been effectively hollowed out, set adrift on a sea of equivalent possibilities. And with the book’s last line, Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus, which translates as “Yesterday’s rose endures in its name, we hold empty names,” he suggests that from the beauty of the past, now vanished, only a linguistic trace remains. The emphasis on the free play of sign and signifier that title and kicker imply is mirrored in the characteristically postmodern license that Eco takes with structure, plot, and theme throughout the novel. Setting his story in a time and place hidebound by complex rules of interpretation, he manages nonetheless to involve the reader in a

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