Archive for April, 2017

The job of an art critic is to take perpetual inventory, constantly revising her ideas about the direction of contemporary art and the significance of the work she writes about. In these essays, which span three decades of assessment and reassessment, Rosalind Krauss considers what she has come to call the “post-medium condition”—the abandonment by contemporary art of the modernist emphasis on the medium as the source of artistic significance.

Jean-François Lyotard argued that the postmodern condition is characterized by the end of a “master narrative,” and Krauss sees in the post-medium condition of contemporary art a similar farewell to coherence. The master narrative of contemporary art ended when conceptual art and other contemporary practices jettisoned the specific medium in order to juxtapose image and written text in the same work. For Krauss, this spells the end of serious art, and she devotes much of Perpetual Inventory to “wrest[ling] new media to the mat of specificity.”

Krauss also writes about artists who are reinventing the medium, artists who persevere in the service of a nontraditional medium (“strange new apparatuses” often adopted from commercial culture), among them Ed Ruscha, Christian Marclay, William Kentridge, and James Coleman.







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Praising Rosalind Krauss

Posted: April 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

2012 Distinguished Scholar Session
Honors Rosalind Krauss

College Art Association

The 2012 Distinguished Scholar Session, taking place at the 100th Annual Conference in Los Angeles, will honor Rosalind Krauss, University Professor at Columbia University in New York. Yve-Alain Bois of the Institute for Advanced Studies will chair a session, called “The Theoretical Turn,” in which five to six participants—among them Harry Cooper, Jonathan Crary, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, and Hal Foster—will explore and celebrate Krauss’s many contributions to the history of art. The Distinguished Scholar Session will be held in Room 515B at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Thursday, February 23, 2:30–5:00 PM.

Krauss’s acute observation of twentieth-century art began at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she received her undergraduate degree in 1962. She began writing criticism in 1966, mostly for Artforum, while working on her PhD at Harvard University, which she earned in 1969. MIT Press published an expanded version of her dissertation as Terminal Iron Works: The Sculpture of David Smith in 1971.

Krauss continued writing criticism and generating art-historical essays that challenged steadfast analyses of Auguste Rodin, the Surrealists, and Jackson Pollock, to name a few topics. She joined the Artforum editorial board in the late 1960s and appeared on the masthead as assistant editor from 1971 to 1974. Krauss and her colleague Annette Michelson left the magazine in 1975 to establish the scholarly October, which strove to forge a relationship between contemporary concerns and scholarship, with particular emphases on the history of modernism, its fundamental premises, and the ability of writing to reinvigorate the era. For Krauss and others, October was an opportunity to integrate artists such as Richard Serra and Sol LeWitt into their theoretical convictions and investigative criticism.

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Rosalind-Krauss

Professor Rosalind Krauss Receives Honorary Degree from Harvard University

University Professor Rosalind Krauss received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Harvard University at their 360th Commencement on May 26, 2011.

In a voice that is both passionate and precise, conceptual and tactile, Krauss reveals recurring structures of form and meaning that resound across various artistic practices—abstraction, photography, video and performance art—connecting them to each other and their historical context, without conflating their methods or meanings in grand generalizations of aesthetic value. Krauss writes, “What I must acknowledge is not some idea of the world’s perspective but simply my own point of view. One’s own perspective, like one’s own age, is the only orientation one will ever have.”

It is no exaggeration to say that Rosalind Krauss has been the preeminent American art historian to have taught generations of colleagues and students, across the arts and the humanities, to courageously espouse, what she once described as “the paraliterary space”: “the space of debate, quotation, partisanship, betrayal, reconciliation…” We honor Rosalind Krauss for her indomitable spirit and her pioneering work.

–Drew G. Faust, President, Harvard University

Pitying Rosalind Krauss

Posted: April 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

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Roger Kimball
“Feeling Sorry for Rosalind Krauss”
The New Criterion
May, 1993


Billed as “a pointed protest against the official story of modernism,” the six, untitled chapters of The Optical Unconscious deal with the same knot of ideas that Professor Krauss mooted a few years ago in The Originality of the Avant-Garde and L’Amour Fou: Surrealism and Photography. Once again she is spooring after (as she put it in The Originality of the Avant-Garde) “a demythologizing criticism” that supposedly will “void the basic propositions of modernism” “by exposing their fictitious condition.” Max Ernst, Georges Bataille, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, and other Krauss regulars are re-enlisted in the project of discrediting—or deconstructing —modernism. As before, they are strained through the forbidding argot of the two Jacques—Lacan and Derrida—Melanie Klein, Jean-François Lyotard, Fredric Jameson, Walter Benjamin, et al. “Phallicism,” the informe, “part-object,” the “paranoiac-schizoid scenario of early development,” “the mirror stage”: all our old friends have come back for an encore.

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Professor Krauss even uses many of the same decorations with which she festooned earlier volumes. Bataille’s photograph of a big toe, for example, which I like to think of as her mascot, reappears. As does her favorite doodle, a little graph known as a “Klein Group” or “L Schema” whose sides and diagonals sport arrows pointing to corners labeled with various opposing pairs: e.g., “ground” and “not ground,” “figure” and “not figure.” Professor Krauss seems to believe that this device, lifted from the pages of structuralist theory, illuminates any number of deep mysteries: the nature of modernism, to begin with, but also the essence of gender relations, self-consciousness, perception, vision, castration anxiety, and other pressing conundrums that, as it happens, she has trouble distinguishing from the nature of modernism. Altogether, the doodle is a handy thing to have around. One is not surprised that Professor Krauss reproduces it many times in her new book.

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We’ll try to cover all of Rosalind Krauss next Monday. Impossible. But we’ll try anyway. These readings are very dense and difficult. Do that best you can with them. If there’s something you don’t understand, either large or small, just consider it an opportunity to ask a question and help your grade. Have a good weekend. I will see you soon.

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Rosalind Krauss is, without visible rival, the most influential American art writer since Clement Greenberg. Together with her colleagues at October, the journal she co-founded, she has played a key role in the introduction of French theory into the American art world. In the 1960s, though first a follower of Greenberg, she was inspired by her readings of French structuralist and post-structuralist materials, revolted against her mentor’s formalism, and developed a succession of radically original styles of art history writing.

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I will send remarks to group leaders tonight. Please pass my comments along to the rest of your group. Thanks!

Any thoughts on why the article would feature a young Latina girl standing next to a portrait by Alice Neel?

Research published by the Center for Fine Arts Education shows that the more arts courses Florida students enroll in, the more likely they are to take the SAT and score well on standardized tests.


Alice Neel, Uptown

February 23 – April 22, 2017
David Zwirner Galleries
525 & 533 West 19th Street
New York

Alice Neel’s Love of Harlem and the Neighbors She Painted There
By Jason Farago
The New York Times
Feb. 23, 2017

Hi,
Here’s the requested to post to use for discussing your final assignment. Feel free to include me in the conversation. Good luck!

I hope you can see that this art, though well wrought and highly interesting, hardly has the sublime and heroic (male) ambitions of the work we’ve seen from the like of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, or other New York School painters. Far more than the sublime or even the beautiful, it’s interested in the human. Paintings of humans, for humans, by a human. Geniuses need not apply.

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Alice Neel
(1900 – 1984)


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Readings for April 19th

Posted: April 17, 2017 in Readings

These are for Wednesday. As I said in class today, I only plan to discuss Linda Nochlin. While I’ve taught Laura Mulvey in the past, I decided not to do so this semester. As Honors is regularly encouraging me to dedicate an increased amount of time to writing fundamentals, I’m finding I need to jettison a commensurate number of reading assignments. It’s disappointing, but necessary.

Good luck with this next assignment. See you soon!

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Linda Nochlin
(b. 1931)
“Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (1971)

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Laura Mulvey
(b. 1941)
“Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975)

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Followthrough

Posted: April 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

Intersectionality – SxSxSxS

Posted: April 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

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“Where three of my great passions have come together. … I used my practices of imagination, improvisation, and experimentation to have a very rich life there.”
–Henry Kaiser

One of the more interesting persons anywhere.

Ellsworth Kelly
Brushstrokes Cut into Forty-Nine Squares and Arranged by Chance (1951)

Cité (1951)

Frank Stella
The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II (1959)

Nunca Pasa Nada (1964)

Ed Ruscha
Century City, 1800 Avenue of the Stars (1967)

Thirtyfour Parking Lots in Los Angeles (1967)

“Inside a small garage on Speedway Avenue, I stood on the rear bumper of a Volkswagen. I lay on my back over the rear section of the car, stretching my arms onto the roof. Nails were driven through my palms into the roof of the car.”

Andy Warhol, shot by Richard Avedon (1969)

Chris Burden’s conceptual performance from the early 1970s. Shot on Super-8, 16mm film, and half-inch video. Guided by the artist’s comments on both the works and the documentative process.

[Recall our Wednesday discussion, in which I suggested that Conceptualism is a movement which replaces the object with language, in particular instructions for creating and using a thing which need not ever exist.]

Declaration of War

Posted: April 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

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Robert Morris in costume for performance War, in collaboration with Robert Huot,
at Judson Memorial Church, New York, June 23, 1963


Very much in line with our recent discussions.

I’ve heard colleagues mention this.

Suspensions of Perception is a major historical study of human attention and its volatile role in modern Western culture. It argues that the ways in which we intently look at or listen to anything result from crucial changes in the nature of perception that can be traced back to the second half of the nineteenth century.

Focusing on the period from about 1880 to 1905, Jonathan Crary examines the connections between the modernization of subjectivity and the dramatic expansion and industrialization of visual/auditory culture. At the core of his project is the paradoxical nature of modern attention, which was both a fundamental condition of individual freedom, creativity, and experience and a central element in the efficient functioning of economic and disciplinary institutions as well as the emerging spaces of mass consumption and spectacle.