"willing suspension of misbelief"
Never having really studied literature, I found that a wonderfully convoluted turn on a familiar phrase, a kind of twisted double negative that might have come from a certain Texas politician we all know.
Anyway I agree with you about Witkin, I have known him since he was in graduate school and for many years I was undecided as to whether he was simply very clever at playing the art game or a twisted genius. Twenty + years later he is still at it with a kind of monkish focus. A friend of mine designed his new studio and at any given time it is full of all these bizarre props like a Heironymous Bosch painting. It is clearly not a game for him but his life's passion and a genuine reflection of whatever his inner demons are. His prints are almost hypnotic in their complexity and richness with these unnerving titles. Belatedly, I think he is the real thing.