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Fred Wilson, Iago’s Mirror, 2009, at the Pace Gallery
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Fred Wilson

by Donald Kuspit

Fred Wilson’s “Venice Suite” is a wonderful study in contrasts: not only between black and white but between Modern and Traditional Art, more pointedly, between “high end” and “highbrow” (elite) abstraction and “low end” and “lowbrow” (popular) representation. Responding to Pietro Longhi’s “depictions of the everyday life of the bourgeoise in 18th century Venice,” Wilson isolates the eyes of the figures in Longhi’s paintings, blackening out everything else in them. The scene disappears, and what remains is a black surface spotted with white holes where the eyes were. “Don’t shoot until you see the white of their eyes” seems to be Wilson’s motto, or perhaps he prefers to make his scrambled abstractions with egg white, leaving the richer yellow yolk for the hungry philistines who prefer representational art..


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