BA, Yale University. BFA, Massachusetts College of Art. PhD, Columbia University. Teaches 20th- and 21st-century European and American art, covering intersections between modernist literature, philosophy, and visual and time-based arts. Special interest in technology and feminist theory. Author of Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings; co-author of Experiments in the Everyday: Allan Kaprow and Robert Watts—Events, Objects, Documents; contributor to catalogues for the Guggenheim Museum, the Americas Society, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and serial publications such as Artforum, Grey Room, and October, among others. Editor-in-chief of Art Journal from 2006-2009. Recipient of 2009 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. SLC, 2000–
Digital technology has indisputably affected the way we produce, distribute, and consume artworks. Today, more often than not, when we take a picture, record a sound, or write a poem, it is notated in the lingua franca of a sequence of 0s and 1s. While optimists argue that these technologies revitalize traditional practices and present entirely new fields for artistic exploration, other critics have been more sanguine, noting that the very uniformity of the digital language inevitably reduces and even eliminates the textures specific to any given medium. For some critics, digitization has altered our relation to “the real.” At issue in either position is the tension between form and content—precisely the tension that has sustained key modern debates in music, literature, and the visual arts. Understanding our 21st-century position to be one of retrospection, this course will explore the notion of “texture” in advanced artistic practices of the 20th century. Reading draws from Heidegger, Freud, Benjamin, Kafka, Beckett, and Lacan, as well as from more current art historical analyses by Foster, Krauss, and others.
This yearlong course sequence provides an introduction to the artistic practices that characterize modernism and postmodernism in the visual arts and to some of the critical debates around them. Taking a chronological approach, we will trace the twinned aspects of primitivism and mechanization, of figuration and abstraction, of autonomy and engagement, and of purity and impurity as they inflect the aesthetic production of key movements in the European and American contexts. Fall lectures will cover modernism in the visual arts from Impressionism to the New York School. Work in the spring is addressed to critical and aesthetic problems that have dominated advanced artistic practices in the West since World War II, including the tensions between high art and mass media, the problem of articulating historical memory in an abstract visual language, and issues of “global” and “local” cultural production. We will be looking at a large number of artworks, authors, and texts, focusing our critical energies on the debates that constitute and are constituted by those bodies of work. The emphasis in lectures is on covering a broad spectrum of art and critical ideas; group conferences are devoted to in-depth analyses of specific images and texts.