Archie Bunker, R.I.P.
The passing of Carol O’Connor in late June gives us pause for reflection on the meaning of his most legendary character. Archie Bunker was clearly the everyman of his day, and an unwittingly humorous one at that. He was a Nixon man, a proud member of the “silent majority” of bigots, war-mongers, and fools. Yet we loved him, or at least loved to laugh at him, and we could almost smell his cigar; he embodied the worst of the American soul, but there was at least one of him, and we could almost smell his cigar; he embodied the worst of the American soul, but there was at least one of him in all our families. Archie helped us mock out own prejudices to the point where we could no longer take them seriously, a truly radical act.
That today’s everyman is Tony Soprano also may reveal something about out current collective character. Tony, it seems, flaunts all the things that most of us lack, but apparently desire: cash, power, freedom from conventional morality. In the suburbs, where affluence is the norm, Tony’s dark and edgy mob cachet lets him rise above the mass. His politics are irrelevant, and only his personal struggle for power really matters. This is the everyman of our dreams, of early 21st century wish fulfillment. It is not a hopeful sign.
Carol Saft: The Cynnie PaintingsBy Amanda Millet-Sorsa
NOV 2022 | ArtSeen
Carol Saft’s painting asks us to slow down, to self-reflect, and cherish the ones we hold dear. For Saft, that meant turning her gaze to her partner, Cynnie, who takes center stage in these paintings, and thus gives us an intimate view into the domestic life of a mature lesbian couple, a subject that has not often been addressed in this tender and quotidian way in art history.
June LeafBy David Rhodes
DEC 22–JAN 23 | ArtSeen
The work, in other words, is not an intermediary between one subjectivity and another, but is mysterious and productive in itself.
JUNE 2021 | Critics Page
June Canedo de Souza is a Brazilian artist based in New York.
Hans Holbein: Capturing CharacterBy Christian Kleinbub
MARCH 2022 | ArtSeen
You might think that Holbeins use of such diverse strategies of characterization would result in portraits that feel overburdened or heavy-handed, except that Holbeins sense of the appropriate was pitch perfect. Although he sometimes idealizes, Holbein makes us forget this in his remarkably lifelike handling of strategic details.