LUCY LIPPARD

Dates: 1937-

Nationality: American

Lucy Lippard is an internationally known writer, activist and curator from the United States. Lippard was among the first writers to recognize the de-materialization at work in conceptual art and was an early champion of feminist art. She is the author of eighteen books on contemporary art, and the recipient of a 1968 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Frank Mather Award for Criticism from the College Art Association, and two National Endowment for the Arts grants in criticism. She has written art criticism for Art in America, The Village Voice, In These Times, and Z Magazine.

Lucy Lippard was born in New York City and lived in New Orleans and Charlottesville, Virginia, before enrolling at Abbot Academy in 1952. After earning a B.A. degree from Smith College, she worked with the American Friends Service Committee in a Mexican village —- her first experience of a foreign nation. Later, she earned an M.A. degree in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. In 1968, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Since 1966, Lippard has published 20 books on feminism, art, politics and place and has received numerous awards and accolades from literary critics and art associations. Co-founder of Printed Matter, the Heresies Collective, Political Art Documentation/Distribution, Artists Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America, and other artists’ organizations, she has also curated over 50 exhibitions, done performances, comics, guerrilla theater, and edited several independent publications the latest of which is the decidedly local La Puente de Galisteo in her home community in Galisteo, New Mexico. She has infused aesthetics with politics, and disdained disinterestedness for ethical activism. In 2007 Lippard was awarded an honorary degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD University), Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Lucy R. Lippard’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 October 2010, 01:06 UTC, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lucy_R._Lippard&oldid=391343626>

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DONALD KUSPIT

Dates: 1935-

Nationality: American

Donald Kuspit (b. March 26, 1935) is an American art critic, poet, and Distinguished Professor of art history and philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and professor of art history at the School of Visual Arts. Kuspit is one of America’s most distinguished art critics. He was formerly the A. D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University (1991-1997). He received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism in 1983 (given by the College Art Association). His essay “Reconsidering the Spiritual in Art” appears in Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Donald Kuspit’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17 October 2010, 03:01 UTC, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Donald_Kuspit&oldid=391169870>

A photographic detail from the Hirst installation Home, Sweet Home – consisting of a clutter of fag ends, beer bottles, coke cans, coffee cups and sweet wrappings on a table – graces the cover of The End of Art. Valued at around $7000, Home, Sweet Home was famously binned by humble cleaner Emmanuel Asare, who afterwards explained, to the amusement of the Press, that he did so because he “didn’t think for a second that it was a work of art.” Neither does Donald Kuspit.

Indeed, Home, Sweet Home is so far beyond what can properly considered art, Kuspit believes, that he uses the term “postart” to describe it. And, like Asare, Kuspit engages in a spot of enlightened cleaning in an attempt to remove the postmodern clutter that threatens to swamp our artistic landscape. Kuspit traces the genealogy of the postart aesthetic from Marcel Duchamp’s announcement of an “entropic split” between intellectual expression and animal expression (which led to the reification of concept over form, and from there to a nihilistic pessimism) through Warhol’s commercialism (which blurred the line between art and business) to Hirst’s installations (which reflect postmodernism’s preoccupation with the banal objects and situations of our everyday lives).

Whereas modern art consisted of revolutionary experiments motivated by a desire to express aspects of the newly-discovered “unconscious mind,” Kuspit argues, postart is shallow, unreflective banality motivated by the desire to become institutionalized; that is, part of the mainstream (along with the commercial reward that such co-opted acceptability brings). In this regard, the messianic zeal with which Van Gogh approached his work represents an ideal because it demonstrates the kind of authentic and individualistic commitment to artistic expression that today’s commercialized postartists lack. The crucifixion has become a cabaret.

Kuspit points out that it was to a very different kind of institution – the psychiatric ward – that modern artists were drawn. In an attempt to understand how the unconscious and madness can affect the creative process, modern artists turned their attention to the artworks of psychiatric patients. Modern art went on to find its greatest glories in the dark and mysterious world of the human unconscious. This is the anti-Allegory of the Cave, an emergence into night.

Acknowledging that modern art’s engagement with madness produced imperfect (but important) art, Kuspit’s new book attacks the postartists for substituting modern art’s authentic engagement with madness for the cozy passivity of the television documentary. Fearful of the dark and unpredictable world of the unconscious (largely because they are ignorant of it), postartists engage in mimicry of madness. The failure of creativity that characterizes postart, Kuspit notes, is highlighted in the way that postartists fail to imagine that there is a flicker of madness inside us all.

Typical post-art values include: a tendency to mock posterity, a tendency to elevate the banal to the status of the enigmatic and the scatological to the status of the sacred, and a preference for concept-driven art. Postart is art at the service of the mind and the product of joyless, “clever, clever” theorizing. Entertainment value and commercial panache are valued more highly than artistic ability or aesthetic worth and painting is perilously close to becoming a sub-genre of performance art. Kuspit blends psychoanalytic criticism, philosophy, and non-technical art history to make a powerful and compelling case for dismissal of the postart aesthetic. The End of Art will appeal to anyone who has ever felt cheated by the produce of the postmodern establishment.

If there’s a criticism to be made, it’s that Kuspit’s description of the New Old Masters is largely confined to a postscript. This group, which includes Lucien Freud and Jenny Saville, might be our artistic saviours, Kuspit claims, inasmuch as they represent values that simultaneously evoke the spirituality and humanism of the Old Masters and the innovation and criticality of the New Masters, enabling them to transcend the suicidal intellectualism and socio-political fixations of postart.

Cole, Emmett. “Emmett Cole Interviews Donald Kuspit.” themodernword.com. <www.themodernword.com/reviews/kuspit.html>

EDWARD LUCIE-SMITH

Dates: 1933-

Nationality: British

Edward Lucie-Smith was born in 1933 at Kingston, Jamaica. He moved to Britain in 1946, and was educated at King’s School, Canterbury and Merton College, Oxford, where he read History. Subsequently he was an Education Officer in the R.A.F., then worked in advertising for ten years before becoming a freelance author. He is now an internationally known art critic and historian, who is also a published poet  (member of the Académie Européenne de Poésie, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize), an anthologist and a practising photographer.

He has published more than a hundred books in all, including a biography of Joan of Arc (recently republished by Penguin in paperback as a ‘classic biography’), a historical novel, and more than sixty books about art, chiefly but not exclusively about contemporary work. He is generally regarded as the most prolific and the most widely published writer on art, with sales for some titles totalling over 250,000 copies. A number of his art books, among them Movements in Art since 1945 , Visual Arts of the 20th Century, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Art Today are used as standard texts throughout the world. Movements in Art since 1945, first published in 1969, has been continuously in print since that date, and has been completely updated five times since first publication. A new edition was published in March 2001. Other well-known texts include Sexuality in Western Art and 20th Century Latin American Art. The latter is regarded as the best concise account of a notoriously complex subject. It has been translated into Spanish and is widely used in Latin America itself. In addition to writing on art he has written extensively on craft and on industrial design, where his books include The Story of Craft, A History of Industrial Design and A Concise History of Furniture. Other texts include American Realism (1994) and Ars Erotica (1997). He is also the author of Judy Chicago: An American Vision (1999, Watson- Guptill), the first full career survey of the work of the leading American feminist artist. His books have been translated into many languages, among them French, Italian, Spanish (where he has six titles in the Mundo del Arte series published by El Destino in Barcelona), German, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Serbo-Croatian, Arabic, Korean and Chinese. Movements in Art appeared in October 2001 in Farsi. The translator is the director of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

A book of his Collected and Selected Poems titled Changing Shape was published by the Carcanet Press in February 2002. He has lectured in numerous countries including the United States, France, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Australia, Turkey, Iran, Korea, Hong Kong. Yugoslavia, Australia and New Zealand. In Britain he was for many years a well-known broadcaster, appearing regularly on the BBC arts discussion programme The Critics and its successor Critics’ Forum. His appearances on these programmes spanned a period of twenty years.

He has written for many leading British newspapers and periodicals, among them The Times of London (where at one time he had a regular column), the London Evening Standard (whose critic he was for two years), the New Statesman, the Spectator, the London Magazine and Encounter. He currently writes regularly for Art Review, and also for Index on Censorship. He also writes for La Vanguardia in Barcelona. His work as a photographer is included in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London; the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the Butler Institute of Art, Youngstown, Ohio; the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, and the Frissiras Museum, Athens.

<www.edwardlucie-smith.co.uk/Biography.htm>

BRIAN SEWELL

Dates: 1931-

Nationality: British

Brian Sewell is a British art critic, motoring expert and media personality. He writes for the London Evening Standard and is noted for artistic conservatism and his acerbic view of the Turner Prize and conceptual art. A noted wit, Sewell has been described as “Britain’s most famous and controversial art critic.”

In 1984 he became art critic of the Evening Standard (replacing avant-garde critic Richard Cork). He won press awards including Critic of the Year in 1988, Arts Journalist of the Year in 1994, the Hawthornden Prize for Art Criticism in 1995 and the Foreign Press Award (Arts) in 2000. In April 2003 he was awarded “The George Orwell” prize for his political/current affairs column in the Evening Standard. In criticisms of the Tate Gallery’s art, he coined the phrase, the “Serota Tendency”, after its director Nicholas Serota. It was not until the late 1990s that he became a household figure through television, though he was on BBC Radio 4 before then.

Sewell is noted for formal, old-fashioned diction and anti-populist sentiments. He offended people in Gateshead by claiming an exhibition was too important to be held only at the town’s Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and should be shown to “more sophisticated” audiences in London; he has also disparaged Liverpool as a cultural city.Sewell’s attitude to female artists has been controversial. In July 2008 he was quoted in The Independent as saying:

“The art market is not sexist. The likes of Bridget Riley and Louise Bourgeois are of the second and third rank. There has never been a first-rank woman artist. Only men are capable of aesthetic greatness. Women make up 50 per cent or more of classes at art school. Yet they fade away in their late 20s or 30s. Maybe it’s something to do with bearing children.”

Sewell’s extensive vocabulary and verbose reviews are parodied in the ‘Brian Sewell Does Pop Culture!’ feature in The Tart webzine. Each week Sewell reviews a popular culture artefact, from television, film or pop music. Sewell does not hold his tongue regarding his opinions, and has frequently insulted the general public for their views on art.Consequently, he is more known for controversy than art criticism among many. He has issued quotes such as the following regarding public praise for the work of Banksy in Bristol:

“The public doesn’t know good from bad. For this city to be guided by the opinion of people who don’t know anything about art is lunacy. It doesn’t matter if they [the public] like it.”

He went on to assert that Banksy himself “should have been put down at birth.” Clive Anderson has described him as “a man intent on keeping his Christmas card list nice and short.”

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Brian Sewell’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 November 2010, 12:49 UTC, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brian_Sewell&oldid=397668857>

LINDA NOCHLIN

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, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Linda_Nochlin&oldid=390851214>

JACQUES DERRIDA

Dates: 1930-2004

Nationality: French

Jacques Derrida (July 15, 1930 – October 8, 2004) was a French philosopher born in Algeria, who is known as the founder of deconstruction. His voluminous work had a profound impact upon literary theory and continental philosophy. Derrida’s best known work is Of Grammatology.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Jacques Derrida’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 December 2010, 00:02 UTC, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jacques_Derrida&oldid=402046992>

According to Jacques Derrida, structure — the structure of language, for example — occupies an impossible and ideal position: it at once posits an absolute center that holds everything together and a meta-perspective that also holds everything together. For Derrida, then, structure is defined by a double law in which it is at once bound and unbound — such is the very possibility (or impossibility) of a structure’s existence. Which is to say, a structure can exist only in as much as it undoes itself. For Derrida, this double function is always already at work — and so Poststructuralism is born. This double logic, which Derrida calls “differance,” (a word which in French blurs the line between speech and writing) operates like an electric current; it is the alternating force which drives language, philosophy, and texts in general. This force stems from the relentless play between a positive and negative node, between the positing and undoing of a thing. Hence, just as an electric current only exists as movement, texts come to exist only from their “differance .” Therefore, there is no absolute and stable dictionary that fixes meaning in place. At the origin of meaning, Derrida tells us, is play. Hence, when Derrida reads, he seeks the play within a text, the particular ways that a text posits itself and is thereby already outside itself, playing elsewhere in unexpected fields, with unexpected texts. This is what he means by Deconstruction.

<www.artandculture.com/users/73-jacques-derrida>

JEAN BAUDRILLARD

Dates: 1929-2007

Nationality: French

Jean Baudrillard (July 27, 1929 – March 6, 2007) was a French sociologist, philosopher, cultural theorist, political commentator, and photographer. His work is frequently associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism. As he developed his work throughout the 1980s, he moved from economically-based theory to the consideration of mediation and mass communications. Although retaining his interest in Saussurean semiotics and the logic of symbolic exchange (as influenced by anthropologist Marcel Mauss) Baudrillard turned his attention to Marshall McLuhan, developing ideas about how the nature of social relations is determined by the forms of communication that a society employs. In so doing, Baudrillard progressed beyond both Saussure’s and Roland Barthes’ formal semiology to consider the implications of a historically-understood (and thus formless) version of structural semiology. The concept of Simulacra also involves a negation of the concept of reality as we usually understand it. Baudrillard argues that today there is no such thing as reality.

Wikipedia contributors, ‘Jean Baudrillard’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 November 2010, 22:22 UTC, <en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jean_Baudrillard&oldid=397755649>

French theorist and contemporary critic of society and culture who has had a central role in French postmodern theory. As a prolific author who has written more than twenty books, Baudrillard’s reflections on art and aesthetics are an important, if not central, aspect of his work. Although his writings exhibit many twists, turns, and surprising developments as he moved from synthesizing Marxism and semiotics to a prototypical postmodern theory, interest in art remains a constant of his theoretical investigations and literary experiments.

<www.mywire.com/a/Enc-Aesthetics/Baudrillard-Jean/9450003/>