Archive for the ‘Readings’ Category

Final Readings of The Semester!

Posted: April 18, 2019 in Readings

In years past I have asked students to read all three of the essays below. This time, as my explanations of very new difficult ideas have gotten notably slower, I will only ask you to read ‘End of Art’ and ‘Art of Exhibition’. ‘Museum’s Ruins’ is available but optional. Read it and ask questions if you feel the inclination. Good luck!

Readings For April 18th

Posted: April 16, 2019 in Readings

These essays, by the living legend Rosalind Krauss, are insanely difficult. But it is impossible to overestimate their influence. Please just give them the old ‘college try’. I will do my very best on Wednesday to become a woman and explain them to you in terms you can understand. I guarantee it will be a wild ride. Good luck!


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.

Rosalind E. Krauss
Art History – Columbia University

“The Originality of The Avant-Garde” (1979)
“Sculpture in The Expanded Field” (1985)
“The Motivation of The Sign” (1992)

(this last essay is optional!)

Auguste Rodin
The Three Shades (1886)

Readings for April 16th

Posted: April 13, 2019 in Readings

These are for Tuesday. I only plan to discuss Simone de Beauvoir and Linda Nochlin. While Laura Mulvey is fascinating and massively influential, I have decided not to assign her this semester. Her essay is simply too difficult for us. Still, do feel free to read her and ask me questions if you like.

Good luck with this next assignment. See you soon!

Simone de Beauvoir
The Second Sex (1949)

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


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


Readings for April 11th

Posted: April 9, 2019 in Readings

Beatriz Colomina
Princeton University
Architecture and Planning
Director of Graduate Studies

Split Wall: Domestic Voyeurism (1991)
(part 1 and part 2)

Domesticity at War (1991)

Enclosed by Images: The Eameses’
Multi-Media Architecture

Photographers and reporters gather near Frenchman Flat
to observe the Priscilla nuclear test, June 24, 1957

Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev
American National Exhibition, Moscow, 1959

Reading for April 9th

Posted: April 4, 2019 in Readings

This essay, while longish and rather difficult, is nevertheless almost universally regarded as a brilliant and epoch-making masterpiece. Just do the best you can with it. I’ll answer as many questions as possible in class and on the blog.


Walter Benjamin
(1892 – 1940)
The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936)


Snapshots of the Volkswagen Beetle Assembly Line

Readings For March 18th

Posted: March 13, 2019 in Readings

Here are the readings for after the break. You only need to read Aristotle for our next session, but feel free to read Brecht and Artaud if you like. For your reassurance, the Aristotle is quite easy and the Brecht, while potentially confusing, is mercifully brief. We’ll worry about Artaud later. Have an astounding week!

The Philosopher
(384-322 BCE)
“The Poetics”

Bertholt Brecht
(1898 – 1956)
The Epic Theater
“Radio as a Means of Communication” (1932)


Antonin Artaud
(1896 – 1948)
The Theater and Its Double – 1938

(video shows a scene of Artaud in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc, which is framed within Jean-Luc Godard’s Live Your Life, Susan Sontag’s favorite film)

Reading for February 21st

Posted: February 19, 2019 in Readings

We’ll try to get through this on Thursday, though finishing Sontag may deter us from achieving that lofty goal. Whatever, we’ll just have fun and do the best we can. I really enjoyed laughing and chatting with you guys today. Let’s keep up the good work!


Michael Fried
(b. 1939)
“Art and Objecthood” (1967)

Readings For The Week of February 27th

Posted: February 17, 2019 in Readings

Sorry I delayed in posting these. I guess I got a little too excited about the long weekend and went into vacation mode. You should still have plenty of time to read this material before Tuesday. Enjoy your Monday holiday!


Susan Sontag
(1933 – 2004)
“Against Interpretation” (1964)
“Notes on Camp” (1964)


Susan Sontag with Jasper Johns

Readings For February 7th

Posted: February 5, 2019 in Readings

I mentioned the Leo Steinberg essay in class. I forget though that we’d want to discuss Harold Rosenberg first. Here are both. Let’s stick to the first for Thursday and save the second for next week. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Jackson Pollock Makes A Painting



Harold Rosenberg
(1906 – 1978)
“The American Actions Painters” (1952)


Leo Steinberg
(1920 – 2011)
“Contemporary Art and The Plight of Its Public” (1962)

Readings for Tuesday, January 28th

Posted: January 22, 2019 in Readings

Here is our next author, Clement Greenberg. I don’t intend to discuss him until next Tuesday, as I’d like to dedicate this Thursday to chatting and regrouping with regard to the semester as it has transpired so far. Nevertheless, I’m furnishing all four essays we’ll eventually discuss.

For the record, Greenberg was an American critic who is widely considered one of the most important theorists of modern art. Just one bit of evidence to support this is the painting of Greenberg, by Mark Tansey, which depicts the critic as a victorious American general at the Versailles/Bonn Convention(s). We’ll have an occasion to discuss the complexity of Greenberg’s position of authority (along with Tansey’s depiction of him) very soon.

For now, good luck with a handful of readings which may prove to be a formidable challenge. I hope this challenge will be a rewarding experience. I don’t imagine we’ll have time to discuss all these material in a single day, but here they are all here for anyone wishing to press ahead.

Finally, I really enjoyed our meeting today, despite certain technical frustrations, and I hope you did too. It’s been a good semester so far and I thank you for the efforts and contributions you’ve made so far. Keep of the good work, and see you soon!

Clement Greenberg

“The Avant-Garde and Kitsch” (1939)
“Towards A Newer Laocoön” (1940)
“The Pasted-Paper Revolution” (1948)
“The Plight of Culture” (1953)

(click here for all four essays)


Mark Tansey (American)
The Triumph of The New York School
oil on canvas, 74″ x 120″
The Whitney Museum of American Art
New York City, New York

(click image for names of artists depicted)

Readings for January 17th

Posted: January 15, 2019 in Readings

I thought I had posted these earlier. Unfortunately, I set the date for 2018, not 2019. Sorry for that mistake. I hope that 15 hours will be enough time for you to get through the first of Eliot’s essays. I’ll be reading right along with you.

I was very pleasantly surprised and pleased by your apparent interest in Wordsworth and Coleridge. Many students in the past, though hardly all students, have shown far less curiosity and endeavor. So, good for you. While upcoming readings will get more difficult, they will also get more unexpected and fascinating. Let’s keep up the effort and try to enjoy future assignments as much as possible. Keep in mind that we’ll most likely only have time on Thursday to discuss the first of these two essays, ‘Tradition and The Individual Talent’. We’ll get to ‘The Metaphysical Poets’ next Tuesday. Good luck with this new material!