Archive for the ‘ N ’ Category


Dates: 1931-

Nationality: American

Linda Nochlin is a Professor and art historian. She is considered to be a leader in feminist art history studies. In 1971, the magazine ArtNews published an essay whose title posed a question that would spearhead an entirely new branch of art history. The essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?,” explores possible reasons why “greatness” in artistic accomplishment has been reserved for male “geniuses” such as Michelangelo. Nochlin argues that general social expectations against women seriously pursuing art, restrictions on educating women at art academies, and “the entire romantic, elitist, individual-glorifying, and monograph-producing substructure upon which the profession of art history is based”have systematically precluded the emergence of great women artists.

Nochlin has also been involved in publishing other essays and books including Women, Art, and Power: And Other Essays (1988), The Politics of Vision: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Art and Society (1989), Women in the 19th Century: Categories and Contradictions (1997), and Representing Women (1999). The thirty-year anniversary of Nochlin’s query motivated a conference at Princeton University in 2001. The book associated with the conference, “Women artists at the Millennium”, that hosts Nochlin’s new essay “”Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” Thirty Years After”, and in which art historians discuss the innovative work of such figures as Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Francesca Woodman, Carrie Mae Weems and Mona Hatoum in the light of the legacies of thirty years of feminist art history, appeared in 2006. Nochlin was the co-curator of a number of landmark exhibitions exploring the history and achievements of female artists. “Women Artists: 1550-1950” (with Anne Sutherland Harris) opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1976. “Global Feminisms” (with Maura Reilly) opened at the Brooklyn Museum in 2007.

Nochlin received her BA from Vassar College, an MA in English from Columbia University, and her PhD in the history of art from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 1963. Besides feminist art history, she is best known for her work on Realism, specifically on Courbet. After working in the art history departments at Yale University, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (with Rosalind Krauss), and Vassar College, Nochlin took a position at the Institute of Fine Arts, where she continues to teach.In 2000, Self and History: A Tribute to Linda Nochlin was published, an anthology of essays developing themes that Nochlin has worked on throughout her career. Nochlin has also been the Norton professor at Harvard University.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Linda Nochlin’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 15 October 2010, 09:54 UTC, <>



Dates: 1844-1900

Nationality: German

German philosopher. Having taught philology at the University of Basle from 1869 to 1879, he retired because of poor health and devoted the rest of his life to travelling and writing his major philosophical works. He collapsed in Turin in 1889, perhaps because of syphilis, and was cared for by his sister Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche until his death. Nietzsche’s early works, particularly Die Geburt der Tragödie (1872), were influenced by German Romanticism, especially by Arthur Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner. He renounced that influence in his late works, notably Also sprach Zarathustra (1883–5), Jenseits von Gut und Böse (1886), Zur Genealogie der Moral (1887), Der Wille zur Macht (1888; a selection of unpublished notes compiled by his sister) and Ecce homo (written 1888, pubd 1908).

Throughout his brief but extraordinarily productive career, Nietzsche addressed the problem of ‘nihilism’. He understood nihilism to be the state in which, though an absolute standard of value has lost its power, the need for absolute standards still exists. Accordingly, nihilism implies the inability to prefer any course of action over any other. Nietzsche believed that European culture had become nihilist when the Enlightenment undermined the unquestioned authority of religion (‘the death of God’) but provided no alternatives to it. Nietzsche used the arts as the paradigm of choice despite the absence of absolute values. He consistently opposed art to morality and praised art for encouraging the creation of new and different objects, styles and schools. In contrast, he argued, morality aims at making everyone behave just like everyone else; morality is the expression of ‘the herd instinct’ and despises any mode of activity that goes beyond what all (and therefore the least interesting and complex individuals) are ever capable of achieving. Nietzsche frequently used quasi-political and military vocabulary and was often considered a forerunner of Nazism in Germany, but his views had little to do with states or nations.

Nietzsche’s major ideas, the need to create one’s own values and to oppose the norm, the concepts of will-to-power, the eternal recurrence and the Übermensch, the opposition between ‘strong’ and ‘weak’, were all addressed to isolated individuals and were so understood by the many artists on whom he had an effect. His influence on the visual arts is all the more remarkable because he himself was more interested in music and literature, and his few references to visual artists were thin. But his attack on Immanuel Kant’s aesthetic of ‘disinterestedness’, his call to look at art from the perspective of the artist and not from that of the critic and his positive valuation of conflict and innovation were important to the many painters who read him. Nietzsche’s audience was already broad before the end of the 19th century: ‘Nietzsche in the air’, Paul Klee noted in his Munich diary of 1898–9. He was widely read in Dresden and Berlin, and he was a seminal influence on the German Expressionists as well as on Kandinsky. In Paris, his work influenced the Fauvists as well as Picasso, who had already read him in Barcelona. In America, the Abstract Expressionists were affected by his famous contrast between the ‘Apollonian’ and the ‘Dionysian’ faculties, and Mark Rothko was led to his own mythological work of the mid-1940s by his reading of Die Geburt der Tragödie.

Nehamas, Alexander. “Nietzsche, Friedrich.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <>


Dates: 1982-Present

Origin: United States

Key Artists: Ashley Bickerton, Peter Halley

Short for Neo-Geometric Conceptualism. This term came into use in the early 1980s in America to describe the work of Peter Halley, Ashley Bickerton, Jeff Koons and others. Halley in particular was strongly influenced by the French thinker Jean Baudrillard. Their work aimed at a being a critique of the mechanization and commercialization of the modern world – what Halley referred to as the ‘geometricisation of modern life’. Seeing geometry as a metaphor for society, Halley made brilliantly colored geometrically abstract paintings which, however, have a figurative basis. They are derived from things such as circuit boards, which Halley uses to represent the individual organisms and networks of contemporary urban existence. The paintings are depictions of the social landscape, of isolation and connectivity. The work of Bickerton and Koons was mainly three dimensional. Koons parodied consumer culture by presenting real consumer goods as works of timeless beauty. Bickerton in works such as his Biofragment series, created a vision of apocalypse.

“Neo-Geo.” 12 March 2010. <>

Peter Halley


Dates: 1978-Present

Origin: Europe, United States

Key Artists: Richard Prince, Barbara Kruger

By the end of the 1970s, Modernism’s utopian principles of innovation, artistic authenticity, and individual expression had become increasingly suspect in a critical culture attuned to late capitalism’s production of desire. Postmodernist theory—articulated in fields as diverse as architecture, comparative literature, semiotics, and political science—questioned and dismantled the grand narrative of Western culture and had a profound impact on the visual arts. A number of different yet related aesthetic strategies (known variously as “Appropriation art” and “Neo-Geo”) emerged at this time to signal the apparent demise of Modernism and to critique its legacy. Some artists flagrantly appropriated the works of others and called these their own in order to demonstrate the myth of originality and the death of the authorial voice. Others exploited the commodification of their work to underscore the inescapable effects of commerce on the art world. In a Duchampian mode, these artists incorporated ready-made objects drawn directly from the commercial realm into their sculptures and installations. Still others produced abstract, geometric canvases (as emblems of Modernism) to demonstrate that painting, like any representational system, is a code or text that could be endlessly replicated. Additionally there is a fundamental compatibility between Postmodernism’s critique of cultural authority and the feminist critique of sexual difference. Hence a number of women artists associated with Neo-Conceptualism used its strategies of appropriation, pastiche, and simulation to challenge the auratic quality of the autonomous art object and the (male) cult of the artist.

“Neo-Conceptualism.” 12 March 2010. <>

Richard Prince


Dates: 1978-1990

Origin: Europe, United States

Key Artists: Philip Guston, Julian Schnabel

A movement in painting, and to a lesser degree sculpture, which emerged in the late 1970s and was firmly established on the critical map in the early 1980s with a number of major exhibitions, especially ‘A New Spirit in Painting’ held at the Royal Academy, London in 1981. The paintings are typically on a large scale, rapidly executed, and display a raw, expressive approach to their materials. Objects such as straw or broken crockery may be embedded in the paint surface. Subject-matter is usually figurative but often infused with a spirit of pessimism. Neo-Expressionism has enjoyed particular success in Germany (Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz) and the USA (Julian Schnabel).

“Neo-Expressionism.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <>

Julian Schnabel


Dates: 1965-Present

Origin: International

Key Artists: Maurice Benayoun

A term used to describe the sophisticated technologies that have become available to artists. New media defines the mass influx of media, from the CD-Rom to the mobile phone and the world wide web, that can enable the production and distribution of art digitally. Websites like MySpace and YouTube are key aspects of new media, being places that can distribute art to millions of people at the click of a button.

“New Media.” 12 March 2010. <>

New media art is a genre that encompasses artworks created with new media technologies, including digital art, computer graphics, computer animation, virtual art, Internet art, interactive art technologies, computer robotics, and art as biotechnology. The term differentiates itself by its resulting cultural objects and social events, which can be seen in opposition to those deriving from old visual arts (i.e. traditional painting, sculpture, etc.) This concern with medium is a key feature of much contemporary art and indeed many art schools and major Universities now offer majors in “New Genres” or “New Media”. New Media Art often involves interaction between artist and observer. New Media concerns are often derived from the telecommunications, mass media and digital modes of delivery the artworks involve, with practices ranging from conceptual to virtual art, performance to installation.

Wikipedia contributors. “New media art.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Feb. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. <>

Maurice Benayoun


Dates: 1958-1965

Origin: Europe

Key Artists: Christo, Gerhard Richter, Yves Klein

A term coined by the French critic Pierre Restany in 1960 (in a manifesto of this name) to characterize the work of a group of artists who incorporated real objects (often junk items) in their work to make ironic comments on modern life. The Nouveau Réalisme movement was part of the vogue for assemblage and had affinities with Junk sculpture and Pop art. Restany also recognized a debt to Dada—hence the title of an exhibition he held at his Galerie J in Paris in 1961, 40° au-dessus de Dada (40 Degrees above Dada). In the following year another representative exhibition, entitled New Realists, took place at the Sidney Janis gallery in New York. Yves Klein was closely associated with Restany in the foundation of Nouveau Réalisme, and among the other leading artists involved were Arman (1928– ), César (1921– ), and Tinguely (all three exhibited at both the Paris and New York shows mentioned above).

Chilvers, Ian. “Nouveau Réalisme.” The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <;

Yves Klein