Archive for the ‘ P ’ Category


Dates: 1949-

Nationality: British

Griselda Pollock is a prominent art historian and cultural analyst, and a world-renowned scholar of international, post-colonial feminist studies in the visual arts. She is best known for her theoretical and methodological innovation, combined with deeply engaged readings of historical and contemporary art, film and cultural theory. Since 1977, Pollock has been one of the most influential scholars of modern, avant-garde art, postmodern art, and contemporary art. She is also a major influence in feminist theory, feminist art history and gender studies.

Born in South Africa, Griselda Pollock grew up in both French and English Canada. Moving to Britain during her teens, Pollock studied Modern History at Oxford (1967-1970) and History of European Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1970-72). She received her doctorate in 1980 for a study of Vincent Van Gogh and Dutch Art: A reading of his notions of the modern. After teaching at Reading and Manchester universities, Pollock went to Leeds in 1977 as Lecturer in History of Art and Film and was appointed to a Personal Chair in Social and Critical Histories of Art in 1990. In 2001 she became Director of Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History at the University of Leeds, where she is Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art.

Griselda Pollock continually challenges the dominant museum models of art and history that have been so excluding of women’s artistic contributions, and articulates the complex relations between femininity, modernity, psychoanalysis and representation. Pollock is engaged in French feminism and psychoanalysis. She is best known for her work on the artists Jean-François Millet, Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Bracha L. Ettinger, Eva Hesse and Charlotte Salomon.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Griselda Pollock’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 November 2010, 10:23 UTC, <>



Dates: 1900-2002

Nationality: German

Hans-Georg Gadamer (February 11, 1900 – March 13, 2002) was a German philosopher of the continental tradition, best known for his 1960 magnum opus, Truth and Method (Wahrheit und Methode). Gadamer was born in Marburg, Germany, as the son of a pharmaceutical chemistry professor who later also served as the rector of the university there. He resisted his father’s urging to take up the natural sciences and became more and more interested in the humanities. He grew up and studied philosophy in Breslau under Richard Hönigswald, but soon moved back to Marburg to study with the Neo-Kantian philosophers Paul Natorp and Nicolai Hartmann. He defended his dissertation in 1922.

Shortly thereafter, Gadamer visited Freiburg and began studying with Martin Heidegger, who was then a promising young scholar who had not yet received a professorship. He and Heidegger became close, and when Heidegger received a position at Marburg, Gadamer followed him there, where he became one of a group of students such as Leo Strauss, Karl Löwith, and Hannah Arendt. It was Heidegger’s influence that gave Gadamer’s thought its distinctive cast and led him away from the earlier neo-Kantian influences of Natorp and Hartmann.

Gadamer habilitated in 1929 and spent most of the early 1930s lecturing in Marburg. Unlike Heidegger, Gadamer was anti-Nazi, although he was not politically active during the Third Reich. He did not receive a paid position during the Nazi years and never entered the Party; only towards the end of the War did he receive an appointment at Leipzig. In 1946, he was found by the American occupation forces to be untainted by Nazism and named rector of the university. Communist East Germany was no more to Gadamer’s liking than the Third Reich, and he left for West Germany, accepting first a position in Frankfurt am Main and then the succession of Karl Jaspers in Heidelberg in 1949. He remained in this position, as emeritus, until his death in 2002 at the age of 102.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Hans-Georg Gadamer’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 November 2010, 08:25 UTC, <>

As Gadamer saw it, aesthetic theory had, largely under the influence of Kant, become alienated from the actual experience of art—the response to art had become abstracted and ‘aestheticised’—while aesthetic judgment had become purely a matter of taste, and so of subjective response. Similarly, under the influence of the ‘scientific’ historiography of such as Ranke, together with the romantic hermeneutics associated with Schleiermacher and others, the desire for objectivity had led to the separation of historical understanding from the contemporary situation that motivates it, and to a conception of historical method as based in the reconstruction of the subjective experiences of the author—a reconstruction that, as Hegel made clear, is surely impossible (see Gadamer, 1989b, 164-9).

By turning back to the direct experience of art, and to the concept of truth as prior and partial disclosure, Gadamer was able to develop an alternative to subjectivism that also connected with the ideas of dialogue and practical wisdom taken from Plato and Aristotle, and of hermeneutical situatedness taken from the early Heidegger. Just as the artwork is taken as central and determining in the experience of art, so is understanding similarly determined by the matter to be understood; as the experience of art reveals, not in spite of, but precisely because of the way it also conceals, so understanding is possible, not in spite of, but precisely because of its prior involvement. In Gadamer’s developed work, the concept of ‘play’ (Spiel) has an important role here. Gadamer takes play as the basic clue to the ontological structure of art, emphasizing the way in which play is not a form of disengaged, disinterested exercise of subjectivity, but is rather something that has its own order and structure to which one is given over. The structure of play has obvious affinities with all of the other concepts at issue here—of dialogue, phronesis, the hermeneutical situation, the truth of art. Indeed, one can take all of these ideas as providing slightly different elaborations of what is essentially the same basic conception of understanding—one that takes our finitude, that is, our prior involvement and partiality, not as a barrier to understanding, but rather as its enabling condition. It is this conception that is worked out in detail in Truth and Method.

Malpas, Jeff, “Hans-Georg Gadamer”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>


Dates: 1968-2000

Origin: United States

Key Artists: Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt

Coined by the art historian and critic Robert Pincus-Witten, Post-Minimalism refers to a general reaction by artists in America beginning in the late 1960s against Minimalism and its insistence on closed, geometric forms. These dissenting artists eschewed the impersonal object for more open forms. Rather than adhere to pure formalism, Post-Minimalist artists often made explicit the psychical and physical processes involved in the actualization of art and often reflected personal and social concerns in their works. In his 1987 book Postminimalism to Maximalism: American Art, 1966–1986, Pincus-Witten describes its progression as threefold: pictorial/sculptural, epistemological, and ontological (e.g., conceptual theater/body art). U.S.; late 1960s. The first, developing circa 1968, emphasized the manufacturing of art and the use of unconventional materials, frequently manifesting a newfound consideration of themes and media previously deemed too feminine, or “soft,” according to the Minimalist canon, as can be seen in Eva Hesse’s rope and latex pieces and Barry Le Va’s scatter installations. The second, beginning circa 1970, reassessed the applicability of theoretical constructs to art production, as evidenced in Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, which exist as descriptions until they are realized by a second party. The third, beginning around 1968, involved the physical presentation of concepts and intentions via the artist s body, which in effect became the medium, as in the performances of Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman. Artists grouped under this category are often also associated with Land art, Performance, Process art, and other forms of expression that resist the authority of the singular art object.

“Post-minimalism.” 12 March 2010. <>

Eva Hesse


Dates: 1968-Present

Origin: International

Key Artists: Vitto Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Bruce Nauman

A term which arose in the late 1960s in an attempt to account for an increasingly diverse range of forms taken by art in that decade. Performance art combined elements of theatre, music, and the visual arts; its deliberate blurring of previously distinct aesthetic categories was intended to focus attention on the relationships between artist, work, and spectator, and to question critical judgements about what does or does not constitute art. In its hostility towards formalism, Performance art related to other contemporary movements, including Conceptual art and Environmental art. It was also closely connected with ‘happenings’ (the two terms are sometimes used synonymously), but Performance art was usually more carefully planned, and generally did not involve audience participation.

Parfitt, Oliver. “Performance art.” The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Ed. Hugh Brigstocke. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <>

Bruce Nauman


Dates: 1965-Present

Origin: International

Key Artists: Claes Oldenburg, Cai Guo-Qiang

Artwork that is in the public realm, regardless of whether it is situated on public or private property or whether it has been purchased with public or private money. Usually, but not always, the art has been commissioned specifically for the site in which it is situated. Monuments, memorials and civic statues and sculptures are the most established forms of public art, but public art can also be transitory, in the form of performances, dance, theatre, poetry, graffiti, posters and installations. Public art can often be used as a political tool, like the propaganda posters and statues of the Soviet Union or the murals painted by the Ulster Unionists in Northern Ireland. Public art can also be a form of civic protest, as in the graffiti sprayed on the side of the New York subway in the 1980s.

“Public Art.” uk. 12 March 2010. <>

Claes Oldenburg


Dates: 1965-1975

Origin: Europe, United States

Key Artists: Robert Morris, Richard Serra

Form of art prevalent in the mid-1960s and 1970s in which the process of a work’s creation is presented as its subject. The term is of broad reference, encompassing in particular aspects of Minimalism, Post-Minimalism and performance art, but in its narrowest sense it refers primarily to the work of American sculptors such as Richard Serra, Robert Morris, Barry Le Va (b 1941), Keith Sonnier (b 1941) and Eva Hesse. The seeds of process art were in action painting: the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock, for example, clearly conveyed to the viewer the creative process that lay behind them, further emphasized by the publication of numerous photographs and films showing Pollock at work. These earlier paintings, however, were intended to be seen as expressive of the artist’s psyche, with the stripping bare of the creative process merely as a by-product of the artist’s ingrained individualism and reliance on his or her emotions.

“Process art.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <>

Robert Morris


Dates: 1965-1975

Origin: Europe, United States

Key Artists: Chuck Close, Richard Estes

Style of painting, printmaking and sculpture that originated in the USA in the mid-1960s, involving the precise reproduction of a photograph in paint or the mimicking of real objects in sculpture. Its pioneers included the painters Malcolm Morley, Chuck Close, Richard Estes, Audrey Flack (b 1931), Robert Bechtle (b 1932), Robert Cottingham (b 1935), Richard McLean (b 1934), Don Eddy and the English painter John Salt (b 1937), and sculptors such as Duane Hanson and John De Andrea. Though essentially an American movement, it has also had exponents in Europe, such as Franz Gertsch.

“Photorealism.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <>

Richard Estes