In a well-known group portrait painted during the 1870’s, Fantin-Latour gathered artists of his epoch. For Steve Miller, the entire space of the gallery where he exhibited is the equivalent of this group portrait. Miller shows the portraits of the critic Pierre Restany, his dealer Albert Benamou, a collector, his mother and the English writer Simon Lane, the author of the catalogue text. One recalls the portraits of the dealer Kahnweiler by Picasso, Emile Zola by Manet, and the artist’s mother by Warhol. The public icons of Warhol without doubt end the classical tradition of portraiture in refusing all subjectivity to their model, reducing the object to the status of grand consumption.
Miller re-appropriated himself, in his own specific context, as in the work of Johns creating his flags, his numbers and the letters of the alphabet composed from a mechanical system for generating the image. Clearly it seems that a contemporary equivalent of this systematic pictorial production must be the computer, whose invention and global dissemination marks a new epistemological break. One of the great achievements of Steve Miller’s work is to take into consideration this rupture.
Brice Matthieussent, Steve Miller: A.B. galeries, art press 187, January 1994.