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View of “Michael Decker,” 2016. Photo: Lisa Anne Auerbach.

Michael Decker

THE MEOW

View of “Michael Decker,” 2016. Photo: Lisa Anne Auerbach.

In 1968, brothers Wallace and Russ Berrie manufactured and sold a line of kitsch plastic objects known as Sillisculpts. The Sillisculpt served as a kind of 3-D greeting card that reflected the popular sentiments of Vietnam-era America; each featured a small, trophy-like figure, typically cast in off-white resin and fixed to a base stamped with a saccharine or humorously lewd phrase: I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH; WORLD’S BEST MOTHER; UP YOURS!; THERE’S NO PLACE FOR SEX IN THE OFFICE . . . SO LET’S MAKE ONE. As subtitles for the upward gazing dopey, doe-eyed figures, the phrases spoke alternately to normative familial relations and to the antiheroes of society (its cynics, sexists, alcoholics, and loafers). Their mysteriously oscillating sentiments are conterminous with the culture’s contradictions and social strains. As knickknacks, the objects served little purpose beyond their punch

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