Rosalind Krauss

  • Interior of Pablo Picasso’s studio, 1912, 242, boulevard Raspail, Paris, 1912.

    “Picasso: Guitars 1912–1914”

    Picasso: Guitars 1912–1914
    February 13–June 6
    Curated by Anne Umland

    OF ALL THE AMAZING FEATS of William Rubin’s curatorial career at MoMA—his exhibitions, his acquisitions, his global associations—the one of which he was proudest was his ability to persuade Picasso to part with Guitar, 1914, the earliest of the artist’s sheet-metal-constructed sculptures, which Picasso gave as a gift to the museum along with what was then understood to be its maquette, the cardboard Guitar from 1912. The guitars presage the revolution in sculptural practice that would

  • Peter Sacks

    Collage seems consigned to barely more than miniature. Its size would be a function of the width of newspaper columns, of the decorative patterns of wallpaper, of bus tickets and candy wrappers. Only Guernica broke with this scale of bits and scraps. It achieved mural dimensions by resorting to imitation: “newsprint” scattered over large planes through broken lines of black. Disdaining imitation, Peter Sacks achieves triptychs nearly fifteen feet wide by typing texts onto long rolls of linens of various kinds—winding sheets, shrouds, strips of prison shirts.

    These textual scrolls overlie a mixture

  • Police officers patrolling the streets of Tarnac, France, November 11, 2008. Photo: Thierry Zoccolan/Getty Images.


    Every year Artforum invites a spectrum of scholars, critics, and writers to reflect on the year’s outstanding titles.


    Once upon a time in Paris, there was a short-lived meeting place in the form of a journal called Tiqqun, which, in two volumes, published anonymous philosophical writings that combined resonances of Agamben, Benjamin, Foucault, Heidegger, and Schmitt. Then there was no more Tiqqun, or Tiqqun went on hiatus. Its dissolution, according to rumors, had something to do with 9/11 and disagreements over the way to proceed in its wake. Sometime after this, an anonymous video,




    The financial crisis of fall 2008 is one symptom of a transition in the nature and form of global order. The most important question this transition raises is what new possibilities it is opening up; but before asking that, one has to understand also what the transition is closing down. Two of the best books I have read in the past year, Giovanni Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century (Verso) and Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Picador),

  • “Invisible Colors”

    IN HIS SHORT ESSAY “The Storyteller,” written in 1936, Walter Benjamin reflects on the impoverishment of soldiers returning from World War I, observing that they have “grown silent—not richer, but poorer in communicable experience.” At the root of this impoverishment, he says, is Chokerlebnis: the reduction of experience to naked information, wherein media (“every glance at a newspaper”) has the power to shock. Today we might quickly grasp Benjamin’s meaning by recalling, for example, the Vietnam War image of the young man with a pistol to his head, which reduced our experience of that conflict

  • Rosalind Krauss

    THERE SEEMS TO BE an absolute divide between academics and curators, the former engaging with language, the latter with objects. William Rubin would thus have seemed an unlikely candidate for the post of chief curator of painting and sculpture when the Museum of Modern Art was hiring for the position in 1966. But Rubin, a professor at Sarah Lawrence College at the time, had a masterly way with objects. His personal collection already boasted several masterpieces of Abstract Expressionism, including works by Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, and Ad Reinhardt, as well as the sculpture many consider

  • The best books of 2000

    Linda Nochlin

    Molly Nesbit’s Their Common Sense (Black Dog Press) isn’t exactly an art book—it’s not exactly a book even, in the usual sense. But in the unusual sense, Nesbit’s tome is a marvelous document, swinging briskly between the teaching of mechanical drawing in French schools and the arcanery of Duchamp & Co. It begins in very big print with Antonin Proust’s proposal that all French schoolchildren learn to draw and ends with a memorable still from Pabst’s Joyless Streets. In between? Children’s drawings (not the cute, creative ones, but disciplined, drafting lesson productions), some

  • Rauschenberg and the Materialized Image

    HER REACTION SEVERAL YEARS AGO to the essay by Leo Steinberg had been, “Well, I know he may be right in several respects . . . but Rauschenberg?!” In her question, italics included, was the unspoken comparison between the course of Steinberg’s argument and the kind of misdirected zeal that led Baudelaire to present, as the exemplar of a painter who could capture the “heroism of modern life,” Constantin Guys. For Steinberg had been addressing what he saw as a radical change in the esthetic premises of contemporary art, a change that he called a “shift from nature to culture.” Focusing on the kind

  • Painting Becomes Cyclorama

    IN HER WHITNEY MUSEUM exhibition Joan Mitchell has included a small, rather simple painting called Plage. Two separate canvases, each about 75 inches square, are butted together side by side and bound by a single frame. On the left-hand canvas are five swathes of painting, each a different color, applied by the flat pressure of a broad brush: three filling the top half with vertical slats of dark green, blue, and pale lavender; the other two aligning themselves horizontally along the bottom edge. On the right panel, the paint marks ice the lower half of the field with thick encrustations—the

  • Dark Glasses and Bifocals

    Stanley Cavell, The World Viewed, Reflections on the Ontology of Film (New York: The Viking Press, 1971), 174 pages, softbound.

    Stephen Koch, Star-Gazer, Andy Warhol’s World and His Films (New York: Praeger Publishers, Inc.), 155 pages, 51 black-and-white illustrations, hardbound.

    HOLDING IN CHECK THE ADAGE about books and their covers, I find myself fascinated by the very look of the two works lying before me. The cover of the one called The World Viewed is white with very thin, very decorous lettering. A handdrawn eye, with half its pupil black-and-white and the other half prismatically colored,

  • Robert Mangold: An Interview

    RECENTLY I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT the content of abstract art, which is a subject people tend to shy away from. It may be too soon in our .discussion even to bring it up, but your early work is often described as having to do with the content implied by an industrial vocabulary. For example, Lucy Lippard read it that way in 1965. At that time that seemed an attractive way to characterize it because of so much else that was going on, namely Minimalist sculpture and certain Minimal painting, which was clearly evocative of industrial processes, industrial shapes, industrial ways of forming. And so

  • Sense and Sensibility, Reflection on Post ’60s Sculpture

    Every scenario and every mise-en-scène have always been constructed by or on memories. One must chance that—start from affection and new sounds.
    ––Jean-Luc Godard

    I AM THINKING OF THE terms “post-Minimalism” and “dematerialization”—of how they have become entrenched within the lexicon of contemporary criticism. I am thinking of the extreme disjunction between the strategic value of those terms and their capacity to signify. For, while I understand the politics of their usage, their meaning eludes me insofar as it attaches itself to the art they label.

    Operationally, “post-Minimalism”