Bachelors (October Books)
Rosalind E. Krauss
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Since the 1970s Rosalind Krauss has been exploring the art of painters, sculptors, and photographers, examining the intersection of these artists concerns with the major currents of postwar visual culture: the question of the commodity, the status of the subject, issues of representation and abstraction, and the viability of individual media.
These essays on nine women artists are framed by the question, born of feminism, "What evaluative criteria can be applied to women's art?" In the case of surrealism, in particular, some have claimed that surrealist women artists must either redraw the lines of their practice or participate in the movement's misogyny. Krauss resists that claim, for these "bachelors" are artists whose expressive strategies challenge the very ideals of unity and mastery identified with masculinist aesthetics. Some of this work, such as the "part object" (Louise Bourgeois) or the "formless" (Cindy Sherman) could be said to find its power in strategies associated with such concepts as écriture feminine. In the work of Agnes Martin, Eva Hesse, or Sherrie Levine, one can make the case that the power of the work can be revealed only by recourse to another type of logic altogether. Bachelors attempts to do justice to these and other artists (Claude Cahun, Dora Maar, Louise Lawler, Francesca Woodman) in the terms their works demand.
reach of the artist’s “knowledge,” the /cloud/ operated as the lack in the center of that knowledge, the outside that joins the inside in order to constitute it as an inside. Thus before being a thematic element—functioning in the moral and allegorical sphere as a registration of miraculous vision, or of ascension, or as the opening onto divine space; or in the psychological sphere as an index of desire, fantasy, hallucination; or, for that matter, before being a visual integer, the image of
ideological construction. Yet much art has been produced within this ideology and in relation to a conception of autonomy; and the rush to move beyond the circumscribed aesthetic sphere to the hors texte, the context, the legitimating “real” text, often produces superﬁcial readings, as in the case of leaching out Agnes Martin’s painting into the concealed landscapes of the “abstract sublime.” But if we allow ourselves for a moment to entertain this transgressive thought of autonomy, we come upon
both combining in a drive toward the desublimation of the image. In Untitled #168 (1987) a glowing but imageless television screen joins the repertory of gleams. In Untitled #176 (1987) the refractive surface of water sparkling upward to meet the downwardly focused view of the spectator, projects the multiple points of light with all the ambiguity of the jewel that produces not the beautiful of sublimation but the formless pulsation of desire. T O M The core of [Leonardo’s] nature, and
surrealism—assumed that with a ﬁrst name like Claude, she had to be male. And this oblivion was further marked by the fact that important anthologies devoted to the movement’s women, such as the 1976 special issue of Obliques called “La Femme Surre´aliste,” or Surrealism and Women edited by Mary Anne Caws, Rudolf Kuenzli, and Gwen Raaberg, or Whitney Chadwick’s Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement (1985), never mention Cahun. But Cahun—surrealist writer, photographer, actress, political
archaic fragments or Moore’s impassive boulders into a collection of cages and bottles and pieces of furniture, I found myself converting these stylistic adaptations into vehicles of expression. For with these elements surrealist sculpture seemed to have devised an insistent vocabulary that turned on the thematic of the incarceration of the female body and the imaginative projection of violence against it.1 In making this analysis I was, of course, moving within the tide of what was developing at