by Peter Plagens
To Paul, Sybil and Phoebe
Criticism is easy, and art is difficult.
Arthur’s recent but rising dyspepsia concerning what he was seeing in the galleries owed mostly to his feeling old and increasingly out of touch with the postmodern art world. He wasn’t that square; he genuinely liked modern art, especially abstract art, all the way up to and including Minimalism. High-end formalism was king o’ the hill back when he was a graduate art history student. Nowadays, Arthur complained constantly (but mostly inwardly): all that goddamned storytelling art that had put him to sleep during any number of slide lectures slipped -- albeit morphed into PC agitprop -- back into fashion at about the same time he’d become a professional art critic. And it had only gotten more pervasive since.