Under Blue Cup

Rosalind E. Krauss. MIT, $24.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-262-01613-1
In 1999, renowned art critic Krauss (Perpetual Inventory) suffered an aneurism that temporarily impeded her short-term memory. The “urgency of remembering” was central to her recovery and is the focus of this study composed of erudite and penetrating essays interspersed with aphorisms (“the medium is the memory” is a central one) and which is itself named for the first flash card she encountered in her cognitive rehabilitation therapy. Just as a sense of who one is serves as the scaffolding for recovering memory, so, argues Krauss, the medium is the artist’s scaffolding for mnemonic support. She masterfully traces the primacy of medium from Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti’s “medium specificity” to critic Clement Greenberg’s distinction between painting as flatness and sculpture as dimensionality. Krauss’s core argument (what she deems a “crusade”) is “that the “white cube,” which conceptual and installation artists have deemed obsolete, actually thrives. For Krauss, whose writing is deeply descriptive and philosophically rigorous, both the aneurism and the recovery process provide concrete and metaphorical insight into the nature of modernism and postmodernism and the structure of individual and aesthetic memory. Of greatest interest to history of art scholars and critics. 60 color illus. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/05/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
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