Judy Rifka and "Postmodernism"
in Architecture

by Joseph Masheck

A new advertisement presents itself in certain parts of town just as I ponder Judy Rifk'a Parthenon paintings and "postmodern" appropriations of classical ornament in architecture. A bottle of Dewar's "White Label" scotch stand solemn atop the capital of a gravely drawn Doric column whose abacus is carved in Spanish with the inscription, "THE CLASSIC SCOTCH." Graphically, the poster extend a convention of identifying the enduring claims of "Quality" with the classic orders of architecture, here the traditionally very masculine Doric- a convention to be found already flourishing on the very title page of Winckelmann's Remarks on Ancient Art (published 1763, dated 1764). The Dewar's ad, which has so far appeared only in Spanish, Sells classicism, including a sense of the classic as a "class act," just as much current "postmodern" architecture trades in tokens of (plutocratic) certainty amid thinly disguised fear and cheaply asked esthetic poverty.