Friday, February 12, 2010

found: 'The Guarantee of the Medium' by Rosalind Krauss (2009), accessed here.


"The contemporary avant-garde (Conceptual Art, Installation, Postmodernism) has jettisoned the idea of medium specificity – so important to modernism. There is another vanguard, however, that finds a new way to exploit the role of the medium for securing the meaning of the work of art through the modernist strategy of medium specificity."

"As medium specificity fell out of fashion, it seemed retrograde for artists to attempt it or for critics to praise it. Art had, it seemed, entered a “post-medium condition” in which the inauthentic seemed more daring and up-to-date than the exploration of limits and materials. This essay is a consideration of such a “post-medium condition” from the vantage of those few artists who have resisted its seductive pretense to displace the avantgarde’s relation to modernism. I will be arguing that these hold-outs against the “post-medium condition” constitute the genuine avant-garde of our day in relation to which the post-medium practitioners are nothing but pretenders."

"The “Technical Support” – a New Form of the Medium Implicitly acknowledging the fact of postmodernism’s declaration of the death of painting as well as sculpture, the artists who still find the relay of some sort of medium necessary to the very possibility of artistic signification, need to replace the traditional supports of the now outmoded aesthetic mediums, such as oil on canvas, plaster on metal armature, or carved image on stone block. To this end they have tended to adopt what needs to be called “technical supports” for which commercial genres or objects might serve as the backbone (or undergirding) of their practice."

"Just as modernist artists are committed to a self-reference along with the ostensive figuration of the work that figures-forth the nature of the medium they are using, [William] Kentridge devises images of his own technical support – as when, in History of the Main Complaint, he shows his protagonist driving a car through the rain with the car’s windshield wipers imaging-forth the act of erasure: the procedure of his own access to animation"

"I have been presenting the reasons for seeing this continuation of working with a specific medium which the works themselves “figure-forth” (or represent) as the latest embodiment of the avant-garde, which, pace Joseph Kosuth and “postmodernism,” lives on."

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