Rosalind E. Krauss

  • Cy’s Up

    WHO’S RIGHT? So who’s right, do you think? Roland Barthes, or all the others who’ve written about Cy Twombly—all those for whom the Latin is serious, to be taken at face value, consumed as erudition, as classical humanism somehow magically surviving amidst the barbarism of the late 20th century, a talismanic flower sprouting from a decaying Roman wall? Here that view is in its most sick-making, obsequious form, written by Twombly’s assiduous art-historical amanuensis, the Heiner Bastian who is compiling the catalogue raisonné of the paintings, the drawings, the sculptures, the prints. Bastian

  • Michel, Bataille, et Moi, and I

    IN 1927 MIRÓ MADE a picture of himself strolling at night in Paris, accompanied by Michel Leiris and Georges Bataille. Or, if “making a picture” is something of a misstatement of how they appear in this painting, he inscribed the following words on a loose, umber wash: “Musique,” in the upper left; “Seine” in the middle; and then, along the lower right—presumably at the spot where the riverbank would be—the three walkers: “Michel, Bataille, et moi.

    Yet if Miró thus indelibly inscribed the name of Bataille into his art, no writer on that art—up until the present exhibition at MoMA—has ever

  • Cindy Sherman’s Gravity: A Critical Fable

    FIRST THE STORY and then the moral. That the story itself concerns a specific act of art criticism attests to the fact that what I understand as the point of this exercise is neither the universally shared nor even the preponderantly held view of the matter.

    Earlier this year I agreed to contribute to a projected book on Cindy Sherman. Having spent some time with the work, I then reviewed the critical literature, which divides, roughly, into three groups. First there is the writing of the early and mid ’80s, when Sherman’s art was received in relation to the initial theorizing of post-Modernism.

  • Corcoran Biennial

    One way of thinking about the divide between documentary and fiction is that with fiction all questions raised by the work—the way behavior is motivated, the way a character’s language ultimately forms symbol systems, the aptness of place and time to the circuit of action—are resolvable only in terms of the work; the work itself generates tests for the relevance of the demands we might make on it. But the documentary situates itself within an entirely different and opposite mode of questioning: a recording of events that leads one outward towards ever widening circles of inquiry about the grounds

  • Brancusi and the Myth of Idea Form

    Thus filming is nothing other than apprehending the event as well as its sign, and apprehending it at the precise moment at which, gently in a scene from Lola, brutally in a scene by Fuller, cunningly in a Bunuel image, or logically in a sequence from Rossellini’s Voyage en Italie, the meaning is born freely from the sign which conditions and predestines it.

    —Jean-Luc Godard

    LOOKING AT BRANCUSI’S A MUSE is like looking at an object in fission, or an object split between two modes of being. It is like looking at water on two sides of the wall of a dam: on the one side the body of water seems stable

  • On Frontality

    IN 1964 KENNETH NOLAND PROPELLED the symmetrically ranged tiers of color in his chevron paintings off axis. And this departure from lateral symmetry was greeted with some excitement by the audience committed to his art and convinced of his growing importance as a major painter. The excitement was obviously generated by the paintings themselves; but it was linked as well to a rhythm of response that is extended by each new experience with ambitious painting. Before a group of works which mark a real departure from a previously established format, one faces more than a new look in a painter’s

  • Sol Lewitt

    Behind Sol Lewitt’s latest sculpture, 46 Three-Part Variations on 3 Different Kinds of Cubes, lurks the idea that even though the individual elements from which works of art are built are in themselves empty and meaningless, they are not irretrievably so. With enough vigilance and enough rigor one can render them meaningful by making them integers of a logical system—a system whose own lucidity will permeate the lifeless skin of otherwise dead forms, filling them with meaning. Faced with the sculptural poverty of LeWitt’s work, one tends to think of 19th-century academic painting, where it was

  • James Brooks

    The surfaces of the paintings by James Brooks, at the Martha Jackson Gallery, the product of the past two years, carry the imprint of Pop color and technique like an infection which has dried their skin and hardened it into rigid inexpressiveness. Colors like blue verging on aqua, flesh tan, acid green and black predominate, and Brooks’s paint-handling—which isolates shapes by filling in dark grounds around areas of lighter color—makes the figures and grounds seem not so much the result of drawn or stroked paint as the slightly unsynchronized deposit of color in a silk-screen lithographic stencil

  • Soulages

    The viscous cuisine of Soulages’ old work has given way in the new to thinner washes of oil that invoke the muse of stain painting in a particularly gratuitous gesture towards being up to date. Nothing else has changed. In his current show, we are still given the same representations of gothic architecture with the same shafts of inspirational white light piercing the gloom of the same interior spaces. The wish to defeat drawing (with its inevitable reference to three dimensional masses in conventional illusionistic space) that was present at the birth of stain painting is absent from Soulages’