Art: Careerism and Hype Amidst the Image Haze

American painters of the '80s are buffeted by cultural inflation

The decade is half over, but already one begins to feel the peculiar sensation of looking back on the art of the '80s. How, in America, have its frequent miseries balanced out against its episodic splendors? The end of a century -- and even more, the end of a millennium -- brings anxiety with it: the unavoidable doubts and mannerisms of the fin de siecle, when every kind of stylistic bubble rises to the cultural surface, swells and bursts with a soft plop and a whiff, while marsh lights flicker and the cultural promoters croak their Aristophanic chorus. The SoHo Tar...

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