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10. Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, New York: Harper & Row, 1976, p. 12.
11. Krauss, p. 36 (her italics).
12. Ibid., p. 37.
13. This essay was and is of prime importance - a catalyst. (For Smithson's reaction, see "Letter to the Editor", Art-forum, October 1967, reprinted in The Writings of Robert Smithson, ed. Nancy Holt, New York: New York University Press, 1979, p. 38.) Fried objected to the "perversity" of minimalism - its deviation from the late modernist will to "purity." Other, less perspicacious critics regard minimalism as the nec plus ultra of modernist reductionism. That it should enfold such a contradiction - the modernist impulse to the thing-itself and the postmodernist impulse toward "theatricality" or "perversity" might in fact make minimalism the scene of a shift in sensibility as the postmodernists seem to suggest. See also Michael Fried, Absorption and Theatricality; Painting and beholder in the Age of Diderot, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.

Laurie Anderson, United States Part II, performance in Montréal, 1980
photo: Pierre Boogaerts

14. Crimp, "Pictures", op. cit., p. 77. Here, Crimp retains an (oblique) historicism, though the passage shows that it need not be centered on any one medium.
15. Craig Owens, "Earthwords", October 10, Fall 1979, pp. 125-126. And yet modernism is seen, at least originally, as a revolt against the Neo-Classical order as it congealed in the academy. Romantic confusion of genres, Symbolist syncretism, Surrealism... Granted that these are episodes, they nevertheless question any characterization of modernism as a doctrine of decorum.
16. Ibid, pp. 126-7.
17. Smithson is one exemplar: Of Spiral Jetty Owens writes: "The work is henceforth defined by the position it occupies in a potentially infinite chain extending from the site itself and the associations it provokes - 'in the end I would let the site determine what I should build' (p. 111) - to quotations of the work in other works." Ibid., p. 128.
18. Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author", Image/Music/Text, trans. Stephen Heath, New York: Hill & Wang, 1977, p. 146; quoted by Owens in "Earthwords", p. 127.
19. See Fredric Jameson, Fables of Aggression: Wyndham lewis, the Modernist as Fascist, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979, p. 20. "...the contemporary poststructuralist aesthetic... signals the dissolution of the modernist paradigm - with its valorization of myth and symbol, temporality, organic form and the concrete universal, the identity of the subject and the continuity of linguistic expression - and foretells the emergence of some new, properly postmodernist or schizophrenic conception of cultural artifact - now strategically reformulated as 'text' or écriture, and stressing discontinuity, allegory, the mechanical, the gap between signifier and signified, the lapse in meaning, the syncope in the experience of the subject."
20. Not only is the present generation of artists the first (to a great degree) to attend college and even graduate school, it is the first born into a totally (mass) mediated world (TV, etc.) - the first to be immersed in its particular representations, stereotypes, etc. This has affected many of today's artists, no less than many of today's film directors. Indeed. the first field of reference for these artists is often these media, not art history.
21. Krauss, "Sculpture in the Expanded Field", op. cit., p. 42.
22. Crimp, "Pictures", op. cit. p. 87.
23. Ibid.
24. Craig Owens, "The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism (Part 1)", October 12, Spring 1980, p. 75.
25. Rosalind Krauss, "Sense and Sensibility: Reflections on Post '60s Sculpture", Artforum, November 1973, p. 47.
26. Though much late modernist and postmodernist art is similarly materialistic, i.e. meaning is conceived as external, not expressive of an "inner self." See Krauss, "Sense and Sensibility", passim.
27. Krauss, "Sculpture in the Expanded Field", op. cit., p. 38.
28. Roland Barthes, "The Structuralist Activity", trans. Richard Howard, Partisan Review, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Winter 1967).
29. Crimp, "Pictures", op. cit., p. 85.
30. Roland Barthes, "Change the Object itself", Image/Music/Text, op. cit., pp. 166-7. This is a danger of critical "doxa" in general. Though poststructuralism is now under attack, it remains a privileged discourse, one which, in turn,, privileges the texts that it engages. One senses this often in Crimp's and Owens's criticism. See also, Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatari: Spirak, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976.
31. Again of Smithson Owens writes: "Unintelligible at close range, the spiral form of the Jetty is completely intuitable only from a distance, and that distance is most often achieved by imposing a text between viewer and work. Smithson thus accomplishes a radical dislocation of the notion of point-of-view, which is no longer a function of physical position, but of mode (photographic, cinematic, textual) of confrontation with the work of art." "Earthwords", p. 128.
32. Owens, "Allegorical Impulse (Part 2)", p. 74.
33. This is not, of course, the allegory of levels of reading (literal, allegorical, moral, anagogic) ordered by a logos, Christian or otherwise. That transcendental signified is precisely what is lacking. As a result, the "levels" collide - no total reading is possible. Here, Owens and Crimp are quite close: "In allegorical structure, then, one text is read through another, however fragmentary, intermittent or chaotic their relationship may be; the paradigm for the allegorical work is thus the palimpsest." Owens, "Allegorical Impulse (Part 1)", p. 69.
34. Owens, "Allegorical Impulse (Part 2)", p. 63.
35. Ibid. However, formulated differently, this contradiction can be seen as crucial to modernism. See Kuspit, passim.
36. Owens, "Earthwords", p. 130.
37. Jacques Derrida, "Structure, Sign, and Play", Writing and Difference, rans. Alan Bass, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1978, p. 281.
38. Owens, "Allegorical Impulse (Part 2)", p. 71.
39. Ibid. See also Douglas Crimp, "On the Museum's Ruins", October 13, Summer 1980, pp. 41-57.
40. Ibid., p. 80.
41. Craig Owens has suggested such an argument vis-à-vis Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, New York: Basic Books, 1973, and Jean Baudrillard, The Mirror of Production, trans. Mark Poster, St. Louis: Telos Press, 1975. See also, Walter Benjamin, "The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", in Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn, new York: Schocken Books, 1969.
42. This remark is representative: "That art which commits itself self-consciously to radicality - which usually means the technically and materially radical, since only technique and not the content of the mind advances - is a mirror of the world as it is and not a critique of it." Barbara Rose, American Painting: The Eighties, Buffalo: Thorney-Sidney Press, 1979.
43. This may not even be true of "pure" painting. The will to purity is not merely about autonomy - it also serves to denature essences that are mere conventions. As such, it is at least an analogue to a much broader critique (it may even be argued that aesthetic conventions encode social ones and thus that the will to purity actually partakes in this critique). In late modernist art, the critique centers on each medium less by any imperative of decorum than by the necessity of a received language. For, again, without such, how can any critical or deconstructive enterprise be articulated? Again, it is a question of field or arena.
44. Krauss, "Scupture in the Expanded Field", op. cit., p. 33.
45. Owens, "Allegorical Impulse (Part 2)", p. 79.
46. Jean-Claude Lebensztejn, "Star", October 1, Spring 1976, p. 101.
47. Roland Barthes, "Writers, Intellectuals, Teachers", Image/, Music/Text, op. cit., 1977, p. 200.

Hal Foster is a critic and associate editor of Art in America.

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