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on skepticism, art, and the museum in the 21st century

Image: Barbara Kruger’s rendering of exhibition entryway at the Art Institute of Chicago, Digital image courtesy of the artist/Source photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

Kruger’s not so retrospective retrospective, currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, affords an opportunity to reconsider why it is we go to museums and what we do when we get there. 

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on the nearly nothing and the persistence of composition

Image: Robert Ryman, Twin, 1966, oil on canvas. Museum of Modenr Art, New York.

Work in which seemingly nothing happens is almost always more interesting than work in which a great deal happens. Actually, maybe that’s not exactly it.

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nostalgia and the self

In Dubravka Ugrešić ’s The Museum of Unconditional Surrender, she attributes the following quote to the Russian literary theorist and critic Victor Shklovsky: “I have no desire to construct a plot. I am going to write about things and thoughts. To compile quotations.”  

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on photography, false promises, and melancholy

Francesca Woodman, House #3, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976

“I would argue that the compulsion of the narrative derives its interpretive animation from the real threat of loss,” Michael Ann Holly writes in her book The Melancholy Art; whether as an art historian you are acting the detective solving the mystery of a painting, or the philosopher attempting to articulate an affective response to a work of art, the motivation for the work remains the same: the experience of a loss.

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