Anastasi's conceptual exercise-the gradual covering and replacement of a mirror by pictures of itself-allegorizes the transformation in the status of the photographic image in the 1960s. Only possible with the invention of the instant print camera, the artist's process involves photographing the mirror, attaching the print to the surface, and photographing the mirror again until the surface is covered. Anastasi's gesture problematizes what was once a direct, unmediated perception of the real with an endless labyrinth of recycled images. Like Andy Warhol's Brillo boxes and Jasper Johns' flags and targets, the perceptual gap in these works between the thing itself and what is literally depicted has been all but erased. The exponentially multiplying self-referentiality of Nine Polaroid Portraits of a Mirror constitutes one of the ways in which artists of the 1960s parodied the interiority and introspection of their immediate predecessors, the Abstract Expressionists.
William Anastasi; MMA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 11," November 13, 1995–March 11, 1996.
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College. "Making Light: Wit and Humor in Photography," April 6, 2000–June 11, 2000.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographs: A Decade of Collecting," June 5, 2001–September 4, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photography on Photography, from the 1960s to the Present," April 8, 2008–October 19, 2008.